June 1, 2017
JetBlue will Test Facial Recognition Boarding this Summer

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Airlines are beginning to test ever more sophisticated technology at airports. A couple weeks ago we reported that Delta would be testing a facial recognition bag drop service in Minneapolis this summer-allowing customers to check luggage without a gate agent. JetBlue announced yesterday that it will also be testing this software for boarding at select airports.


JetBlue is partnering with US Customs and Border Protection to test a pilot program on flights between Boston-Aruba starting in June. Customers will be able to board their flight without a paper or mobile boarding pass. Passengers who want to use their program don’t have to pre-register. Here’s how the optional program works:

You step up to a special camera station at the boarding gate, the machine takes your picture and transmits it to CBP. CBP matches it to your passport photo to verify your identity. Once there’s a match, you’re cleared to board-all without needed a boarding pass.

The stated objective of this software is to streamline the boarding process and reduce the friction that comes with needed to find and scan a boarding pass. Other airports are also planning to begin testing this software later this year. While this sounds pretty cool, it’s also fairly creepy and throws any remnant of privacy left out the window. Would you choose to use this somewhat invasive technology or stick with a boarding pass?



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