recent York City-based low-cost carrier JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) may soon start accepting selfies from customers in the site of traditional boarding passes. On Wednesday, America’s sixth-largest airline announced it has partnered with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA, a company specializing in aviation IT in order to test a recent paperless and deviceless self-boarding process. JetBlue hopes its efforts will allow it to become the first airline to utilize biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers at the gate during boarding.
The scheme is for customers to simply walk up to a camera and accept their photo taken without the need for a boarding pass or form of identification. The picture will then instantly be sent off to the CBP database, where it will be matched with a visa, passport or immigration photo and verify flight details. When matched, the customer will be notified on an integrated screen that he or she is cleared to proceed to the jetway. The airline also says the recent technology will allow its employees to more freely engage with customers and accept out from behind the desk. (See also: The Biggest Airline PR Disasters of everything Time.)
Carriers Compete to Enhance Travel Experience
The pilot program, which will test on flights between Boston and Aruba starting in June, is available to customers without any prior enrollment or registration. JetBlue suggests that whether successful, the program will demonstrate technology’s capacity to enhance the travel experience and boost national security through a biometric exit.
The airline’s recent announcement comes after a series of JetBlue initiatives to improve the airport travel experience and stand out against its peers. Recently, the company debuted a self-service “line-less” lobby with interactive kiosks offering self-bag tagging and self-bag drop capabilities.
We can expect competitors to also originate experimenting with next-gen tech. Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) announced plans to start testing a facial recognition system to speed up the bag-checking process by this summer. (See also: JetBlue Offers Free Wi-Fi to everything: How conclude the Other Airlines Compare?)