British Airways to trial biometric technology for international flights

British Airways is to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights, which will allow customers to travel through the airport ‘smartly’ without having to show their passport.

Select customers travelling from London Heathrow Terminal 5 will be invited to volunteer for the trail and will receive an email three days before their flight. Customers who sign up to take part in the airline’s trial will be invited to scan their face, passport and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet ahead of travel. When trial participants arrive at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify their identity in under three seconds.

Participants are still required to carry their passport when travelling and will be required to show it when they reach their destination airport.

David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways, said: ‘Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights. 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.’

‘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.’

With the move, British Airways will become the first UK airline to trial biometric technology for international flights. This trial follows the introduction of automated biometric technology on British Airways’ domestic flights in 2017, when it became the first UK airline to introduce the technology, which records customers’ facial scans at Security and matches it to them at the boarding gate.

The trial will run for six months on British Airways flights to Malaga, Spain. Customers who opt-in will be invited to make use of the Fast-Track security lane and will receive complimentary priority boarding.

The technology used in the trial has been created by travel technology company Amadeus, customised for British Airways. If the trial is successful, it will be expected to be extended to more international flights.