JetBlue has announced a new project that will make it the first airline to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers at the gate during boarding.
Along with the United States Customs and Border Protection and technology company SITA, JetBlue will test a new paperless and deviceless self-boarding process as part of an ongoing trial to implement a biometric exit process in the future.
Starting in June, passengers flying from Logan International Airport in Boston to Queen Beatrix International Airport in Aruba will be able to participate in the trial without any prior enrollment or registration.
For JetBlue customers who want to be part of the testing process, they will need to have their picture taken at a camera station in order to match it to the Customs and Border Protection’s database of passport, visa or immigration photos.
“We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve,” JetBlue executive vice president Joanna Geraghty said in a statement.
“Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”
The new process will allow JetBlue employees to interact with customers and assist throughout the process. The company’s crewmembers will be issued iPad minis to help them monitor and manage boarding activities.
SITA will provide the technology and connectivity to perform facial capture and integration to match up with the Customs and Border Protection’s database and JetBlue’s departure control system.
“This biometric self-boarding program for JetBlue and the CBP is designed to be easy to use. What we want to deliver is a secure and seamless passenger experience,” SITA chief technology officer Jim Peters said in a statement.
We use sophisticated technologies to enable biometric checks and for CBP authorization to be sent quickly to the airline’s systems.
This is the first integration of biometric authorization by the CBP with an airline and may prove to be a solution that will be quick and easy to roll out across US airports.
The goal from officials at JetBlue is to simplify the boarding process and improve security.