Boarding Pass Not Needed, Just Look into the Camera

boarding pass

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A US airliner has revealed more information on face recognition self-boarding trials it is conducting with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA company. JetBlue will become the first airline to integrate with CBP to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers at the gate during boarding.

The program will start on certain flights from Boston’s Logan International Airport. Passengers can put away their boarding passes and devices and simply step up to the camera for a quick photo. The custom-designed camera station will connect to CBP to instantly match the image to passport, visa or immigration photos in the CBP database and verify flight details. The customer will be notified on an integrated screen above the camera when they are cleared to proceed to the jet bridge.

According to, the setup will move JetBlue crewmembers from behind the counter to interact with customers and assist throughout the process. JetBlue will issue iPad minis to crewmembers, giving them mobility to monitor and manage the boarding process while interacting with customers. “We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience, JetBlue.

“Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”

SITA, which specializes in IT, communications and border security solutions to airlines, airports and governments is providing the technology and connectivity for performing facial capture and integration with the CBP database as well as integration with JetBlue’s departure control system. If successful, the program will show how technology can make the boarding process simple and seamless for the traveler while enhancing U.S. national security through the implementation of biometric exit.

“CBP looks forward to engaging closely with air travel partners, like JetBlue, to better understand how CBP’s biometric exit program will support their efforts to streamline the travel process by using advanced biometric technology,” said CBP’s Office of Field Operations, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, John Wagner. “By transforming current business operations, airlines and airports will have the opportunity to use verified biometrics to ensure a seamless and consistent process for travelers.”

Jim Peters, chief technology officer, SITA, said: “This is the first integration of biometric authorization by the CBP with an airline and may prove to be a solution that will be quick and easy to roll out across US airports.”