BRITISH AIRWAYS: No Passport required with Biometric checkin
BA is to trial biometric technology instead of using passports for international travel.
You have to sign up, and the trial only operates out of Heathrow Terminal 5. You will need to scan your face, passport and boarding pass ahead of travel on your smartphone. When you arrive, Bio-Pod cameras at the airport will scan you and verify your identity within 2 seconds. No need to get out that passport at all! And you will then progress to the fast transit lane. Bonus!
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BA promises that the system is secure, but then so did Medicare! And there is the rub in this system – what happens if your identity gets stolen, then what happens. The BA media release doesn’t address that concern, but I suppose that’s partly why it’s a trial.
The trial will only last for 6 months and will only operate on flights to Malaga, Spain. Let’s hope trialists don’t get held on their aircraft for 3 hours and have their hotel room given away, as happened to me on a BA flight a decade or two ago. If everything goes pear-shaped in the process, you will be directed to a customer service rep. for assistance.
Don’t leave your passport behind, though
You will still need a passport at the Spanish end of your trip to enter that country and, of course, to return to the UK.
This is an interesting development and gives us an indication of what travel might be like in the near future. However, until security systems are more, well, secure, I’m not sure I would be volunteering for this innovation. Facial recognition in any public area has its privacy issues. Presumably, the system scans and stores information on other faces besides those who agreed to the trial.