Passengers travelling on Eurostar rail services from London’s St Pancras International station to continental Europe will be able to complete pre-departure ticket and passport checks before they arrive at the terminus via biometric face recognition technology, enabling them to board the train using face verification alone.
Eurostar is currently trialling its contactless fast-track SmartCheck service with holders of its business premier and carte blanche tickets, enabling them to scan their passport with an iPhone and verify their identity with a biometric face scan which is also then linked to their e-ticket.
“On arrival at St Pancras International station, passengers proceed through a dedicated SmartCheck lane,” Eurostar and technology provider iProov explain.
“A brief face scan at the ticket gate verifies that the customer has completed the ticket check, with no sharing of paper or electronic tickets needed.
“A second face scan at the UK Exit Check allows Eurostar to verify that the passenger has completed their passport information, again replacing the need for travellers to hand over documentation.
“The aim is to eliminate queues and expedite the boarding process to further improve customer satisfaction for frequent travellers.
“At this time, the trial involves a limited number of invited passengers and is focused on the check-in and exit control processes operated by Eurostar at St Pancras Station and not the UK or Schengen entry controls.”
Eurostar announced that it was planning to let international passengers use biometrics to replace physical tickets and passport checks in June 2020.