Bye, Bye Boarding Pass

Jet Blue is testing facial recognition check-in in select airports.


For frequent and infrequent flyers alike, the check-in and boarding process can be a nightmare, fraught with long lines and inconvenient processes, from taking off shoes to pat-downs to unloading laptops.

A number of airlines are taking steps to streamline the process by experimenting with new technologies like robots and state-of-art check-in kiosks. Jet Blue is the latest player to flex its new technology wings with a pilot project for using facial recognition software to facilitate check in and boarding.

The airline is collaborating with a company called SITA, which specializes in such air travel-related systems, including roaming robotic check-in kiosks that sense where they are needed, according to an article in Bloomberg. The pilot project will be initiated on Jet Blue flights from Boston to Aruba, the article said.

Here’s how it works: Passengers will step up to a camera in a kiosk and the system will compare the facial scan to passport photos in the U.S. customs database to confirm the match, the article explained. A screen above the camera gives the A-OK that you are cleared to board. (But don’t forget to bring your passport—you will still need to have it with you, Jet Blue warns). In a similar move, rival airline Delta is apparently testing fingerprint identification to replace boarding passes for select flights going out of Washington, DC.

I don’t know about you, but I’m game for anything that takes some of the pain out of flying.

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