Passengers on British Airways (BA) flights from London Heathrow’s Terminal 5 to Malaga in Spain will be the first to trial a contactless biometric check-in and boarding system that will enable them to travel through the airport and board an international flight without needing to show their passport.
Customers who sign up to take part in the trial “will be invited to scan their face, passport and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet ahead of travel, with this information being kept safe and secure,” BA says.
“When trial participants arrive at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify their identity in under three seconds, allowing them to keep their passport safely in their pockets until they reach their destination.”
A short video shows how the system works.
“Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights,” BA operations transformation manager David Breeze explains.
“This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft.
“The beauty of this technology is that it also frees our people up to look after more complex customer enquiries and deliver the best possible customer service.”
BA plans to trial contactless biometric check-in and boarding for six months on flights to Malaga and will extend the system to other international flights if it is successful, the airline says.
An IATA survey in November 2021 found that three in four airline passenger support the use of biometrics to speed up airport processes and in July the UK government unveiled plans to test contactless biometric border checks at airports and other entry points to the country.