How More Airlines Are Eliminating Gate Agents and Letting Passengers Board Themselves
It’s not unlikely there will be a time when you’ll be able to go to the airport, check in, pass through security, and board your flight without ever having to speak to another human being.
More and more airlines are testing facial-scanning programs that allow passengers to board themselves, without having to interact with a gate agent.
The process starts as soon as passengers enter the airport. At kiosks near the baggage drop, passengers scan their boarding pass, passport, and finally their face. A gate opens up and passengers are then able to proceed to security. After security, and after reaching their gate, passengers must once again scan their boarding pass and take a picture of their face. Once their identity has been verified, they sit and wait for the boarding call. Then it’s straight onto the aircraft.
According to the Telegraph, British budget airline easyJet just introduced the service at Gatwick Airport, and this is the first time it is being used on international flights from the U.K.
Earlier this year, British Airways began testing the facial scanning program at Orlando and Los Angeles airports. The airline will soon introduce similar systems at New York JFK and Miami airports. Self-boarding allows the airline to board 240 passengers in 10 minutes, the airline said in a statement. The technology can supposedly cut the time passengers wait to board in half.
The service is not wholly human-free, however. Airline staff are on hand to help with any technical issues that may pop up from using the kiosks.
Last year, JetBlue launched a self-board test at Boston Logan. Delta tested a facial-scanning baggage drop at Minneapolis airport around the same time.