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Biometric gates are starting to gain traction and we’re seeing more airlines trialling them and putting them into service all the time. Delta and BA were testing facial recognition gates back in 2017, BA expanded its US trials in March this year and Lufthansa joined in on the act at LAX a few weeks later. Now JetBlue has brought its biometric gate to New York.
As of Thursday last week JetBlue now has a “fully integrated self-boarding gate” at New York JFK Terminal 5.
The gate will be used for flights departing to international destinations and uses facial recognition technology to confirm a traveler’s identity before releasing them to board the aircraft.
JetBlue hasn’t provided any images of its new Biometric gate but here’s an image of what one looks like at LAX:
Flyers don’t need to pre-register or do anything different before they encounter a biometric gate. As JetBlue says:
“Customers can simply step up to the camera for a photo match and make their way onto the aircraft”
Here’s how the process works:
The facial scanners at the gate connect up to a CBP database which will allow the scanners to match the facial features of the person at the gate with the information on the boarding pass and the passport, visa or other photos held by CBP.
Once a match is made the lane doors open and the passenger is free to board the aircraft – no need to interact with a human being at all (hopefully!)
I haven’t had the opportunity to try out any of JetBlue’s biometric gates yet (they have them in Boston and Ft Lauderdale too) but the gates I’ve interacted with when flying other airlines have worked pretty well.
These new gates aren’t flawless by any means but they may actually turn out to be the solution to more than just slow boarding – they may also cut down on line jumpers and self-upgraders too. If that’s what ends up happening then I can wait to see these gates rolled out as quickly as possible – T4 at LAX would be a good place to start!