No matter how fast gate agents work, the boarding process can feel like an interminable nightmare filled with people shuffling slowly forward, just itching for their chance to hand over their boarding pass or scan their phone. British Airways thinks it can speed things up by using passengers’ faces as boarding passes.
The airline will be using new facial recognition technology at its London Heathrow Airport hub that lets people simply walk through the boarding gate and onto the plane, reports Bloomberg, citing a letter to staff from the airline.
When travelers go through the main security screening area in the terminal, biometric devices register their faces as well as their boarding passes. Once they get to the gate, a facial scan confirms their identity, allowing them to walk onto the plane. This process should make boarding go faster and cut down on errors, the airline says.
So far there are three gates with the technology, with plans for 33 more.
“The addition of self-boarding gates, along with self-serve bag drop points, are just two of the ways in which we are investing in areas our customers value most,” Troy Warfield, director of customer experience at the airline, told Bloomberg.