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Will a selfie replace the boarding pass?
Posted on 05/06/2017

SecurityUnited States of America

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New York based budget airline replaces boarding passes with selfies in new trial at Boston airport.

The boarding pass may soon be a thing of the past

The boarding pass may soon be a thing of the past
Anya Berkut/123RF

We can all agree that traveling can be a stressful experience. Few things in our daily lives are as emotionally draining as finding oneself in a crowded airport, trapped in a mile long queue for yet another security check, with the bleak realization creeping in that you are running late for your flight. Enter JetBlue, a New York based low coast air carrier, with a plan to replace boarding passes with selfies.

Last week the airline announced a new trial boarding process, which it will carry out alongside US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA. According to a JetBlue spokesperson the goal of the trial is "to test a new paperless and deviceless self-boarding process as part of ongoing trials to implement a biometric exit process in the future".

The trial will affect flights from Logan International airport in Boston to Aruba's Queen Beatrix International. According to JetBlue, it is the first carrier to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers' identity during boarding.

In front of the gate passengers will find a custom designed camera station where they will take a selfie. The station, which is connected to the CBP database, will cross-match your photo with ones in your passport or on your visa. If the information checks out, the passenger gets a notification on a screen above the camera and is free to proceed to their flight. The new system would allow JetBlue employees to sit behind a counter, but will instead mingle amongst passengers, equipped with iPad minis, waiting to provide assistance to any one in need of help.

Speaking about the new trial JetBlue's executive VP of customer experience Joanna Geraghty said: "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." Ms. Geraghty went on to add: "Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks".

Meanwhile Jim Peters, chief technology officer at SITA ? the organisation behind the tech ? tried to reassure critics by saying: ?This biometric self-boarding program for JetBlue and the CBP is designed to be easy to use. What we want to deliver is a secure and seamless passenger experience.?

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