British Airways will trial a biometric boarding system that lets participants upload their passports, boarding passes, and selfie photos remotely using a smartphone or tablet ahead of their travel date, and then proceed through London Heathrow Terminal 5 on the day of travel without having to show their documentation.
It’s a big step for British Airways, and one that is being facilitated by mobile biometrics technology. According to British Airways Operations Transformation Manager David Breeze, the trial marks the first time that the airline is letting passengers register biometric information from a location outside of an airport.
If successful, the experiment will deliver substantial benefits to British Airways and its customers alike, Breeze suggested.
“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,” he said. “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.”
The trial will run for six months, and will be restricted to travelers headed to Malaga, Spain. British Airways says that eligible passengers will be selected at random, and will receive emails about the biometric boarding process three days ahead of their departure.
Amadeus has provided the biometric screening technology to be used in the pilot. The company has established a prominent profile as a provider of biometric screening technologies for airports, having provided biometric curb-to-gate passenger processing technology for two airports in Houston earlier this year; that project was quickly followed by a deployment of its Amadeus Flow solution, which lets airport agents check in travelers using mobile devices, at the Vancouver International Airport.