JetBlue to Trial Facial Recognition for Boarding

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Technology is making inroads into the way we move around airports. The latest airline to announce an innovative change is JetBlue, which announced that they will be testing a new paperless and device-less boarding process. The latest announcement comes hot on the heels of Delta announcing a similar test, and KLM announcing another scheme earlier in the year.

The JetBlue test starts in June on flights between Boston and Aruba, and customers can take part without any prior enrollment or registration. The new scheme is a partnership between JetBlue, the US Customs and Border Protection Agency, and SITA the Global supplier of IT solutions to Airlines and Border Agencies. The new project will be the first time the CBP has collaborated with an airline to use biometric and facial recognition technology to verify passengers prior to boarding.

How the System Works

Passengers opting to take part in the new test will be able to put away their devices and paper boarding passes and will then step up to a camera for a photo. The photo will instantly connect to the CBP, which will cross reference it with Passport, Visa, or immigration photos on file in the CBP Database. Flight details will then be automatically verified and the passenger will be told they are cleared to head to the jet bridge by a screen above the camera.

JetBlue Facial Recognition Infographic

In its press release, JetBlue confirmed that their staff will then be able to leave their counter to assist passengers thanks to the automated boarding procedure. Per the press release,

“The setup will move JetBlue crewmembers from behind the counter to interact with customers and assist throughout the process. JetBlue will issue iPad minis to crewmembers, giving them mobility to monitor and manage the boarding process while interacting with customers.”

Our Take

This is a great move and hopefully, the test will be successful and then rolled out further. It is clear from the many new tests being carried out around the world that we will be seeing a dramatic change in the way we move through airports over the next few years.

Source: One Mile at a Time

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  • Jamie Eubanks says:

    This is indeed a great move…IF…it’s successful. There’s no reason it shouldn’t be, but we’ll see if it actually improves the process at the beginning, or actually delays it. Hopefully it works out.

  • Finally another carrier is moving forward with this enhancement. The technology is there, the problem is the implementation. Hopefully this will minimize boarding line.

  • Bertrand Say says:

    So it seems JetBlue is following the actions of Delta Airlines.

  • So long as you don’t have your doppleganger flying the same day this should help to speed thing up

  • I’m a tech-forward individual, use biometric security on my iPhone, have applied for Global Entry, but my gut says we should be more judicious about implementing stuff like this than we are. There’s not widespread debate going on about early steps to furthering biometric tracking… not like there’s much room in the public discourse for forward-thinking these days.

  • this sounds quite interesting

  • I like the sound of this much more than Delta’s fingerprinting idea.

  • Hopefully it is bug free- but sounds like it could be a problem if there’s breakdown,

  • I all for this if it speeds up the process.

  • I wonder if this will help to speed up the boarding process.

  • Karen Klein says:

    I did see this on The Today show, well they tried. The reporter said it worked but when they actually had the camera on him it didn’t. I wonder what happens when it doesn’t work? Are boarding passes still issued so when it doesn’t work then those can be shown? Something new and I’m always wary about new things like this and what back up there is when tech doesn’t work. There is always a time tech doesn’t work and then someone doesn’t remember really how to do it without it…and well, stress ensues right after.

  • After waiting an an hour in immigration yesterday in Cabo, I’m for anything that moves things along faster and safer.

  • Hopefully this is not as useless as voice recognition programs when you have some kind of Asian accent. Hopefully, it does not think my Asian face is just like any Asian faces.

  • I guess that with this advancement, we should also imagine the what if, when things do not work, need to go back to old school and have a paper bp. Technology, great when it works, but a big hazle when it doesn’t.

  • Another company going to the right direction.
    Everything that speed up the airport operations is very welcome.

  • Wow. Surprised they chose Aruba as test location. Maybe since they are already setup cause of KLM. the Dutch always cutting edge.

  • Angelo fonseca says:

    Easier check-in and boarding. Technology improving our trips.

  • Let’s see how it goes… Interesting concept on paper.

  • Sounds good in theory, but how’s the public to know such info won’t be used for nefarious reasons?

  • Didn’t think check-in and boarding were that big of a hassle. But okay, let’s try this.

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