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British Airways to trial biometric boarding

written by Liam McAneny | November 16, 2022

British Airways Boeing 747, registration G-CIVW, arriving at Dunsfold Park in Surrey (SurreyLive/Grahame Larter)

British Airways has announced it will trial biometric boarding technology for a select number of international flights.

The biometric technology will remove the need for passengers to show their passports in order to travel internationally. British Airways is the first airline in the United Kingdom to trial this kind of biometric technology for international flights.

Participating passengers will be asked to scan their face, boarding pass, and passport prior to travel.

Passengers will be randomly chosen for the trial, with British Airways asking passengers three days prior to their flight if they would like to be involved. Participation will be on a volunteer basis.

The airline has been quick to assure passengers that all biometric data gathered during the trial will be kept safely secured and will not be used outside of the trial.

Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport was the location chosen for this first run of the trial. The terminal has been fitted with ‘Smart Bio-Pod’ cameras that are capable of verifying passengers’ identities within as little as three seconds.

David Breeze, the operations transformation manager for British Airways, commented: “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.”

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“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,” Breeze said.
British Airways has chosen to open the trial only to flights heading to Malaga, Spain for the initial six-month trial.

Participants will not need to preregister before they get to the airport, with a number of locations set up at check-in zone B to allow passengers who have been selected to complete their registration.

Involvement in the trial also comes with some additional benefits, like being able to use fast-track security lanes and being granted free priority boarding status.

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British Airways has been using some form of biometric technology at Terminal 5 in Heathrow for around five years now since successfully trialling the technology in 2016. Three gates in the terminal have been equipped with the technology, which allows passengers to ‘self-board’.

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