JetBlue & Delta to Test Facial Recognition Technology for Boarding

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Boarding passes will be replaced by facial recognition and finger prints in the near future in U.S. airports.

JetBlue announced that it will test a self-boarding process in which paper tickets are replaced with biometric facial recognition scans.

Instead of handing over your ticket to a gate agent, a custom-designed camera will take your photo.

The image is then sent to to U.S. authorities, who run it against a database of passport and visa photos. Passengers with exact matches of facial recognition with the visa photo and Customs and Border protection database will be allowed to fly.

JetBlue Airways Corp. as well as Delta Air Lines Inc. have started testing biometric ways for boarding process – JetBlue at Boston’s Logan Airport and Delta at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

According to Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president of Jet Blue, the airline company, is trying to reduce friction points at the airport. It will use specially designed cameras to capture photographs of the passengers and would share with the U.S. authorities for verification.

JetBlue will work with the U.S. Customs and information technology provider SITA.

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The opt-in pilot program starts this month on flights from Boston to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport. JetBlue said the goal is to speed up the boarding process while improving national security.

Delta is also working to incorporate biometric data into airport procedures. The Atlanta-based airline said it will begin testing a program that allows SkyMile members to use their fingerprints to check bags and board flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

In addition, the company is installing a self-service bag drop kiosk at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which uses facial recognition technology to verify passengers’ passports (thereby allowing them to check bags without interacting with an agent).

“We’re rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you’ll need for any number of transactions throughout a given day,” Gil West, Delta’s COO, said in a statement.

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