Biometric Identity In Place In US Airports

Biometric e-gates rolled out by British Airways at three American airports.

Heightened airport security can mean the difference between a terrorist attack and a safe, reasonably peaceful flight to your destination. However, post-9/11 security measures have meant delays, extensive wait times, and inconvenience when passing through the screening area, mostly in the form of disrobing to some extent and emptying your carry-on bag. The delays are so intense, in fact, that major airport hubs recommend arriving two hours before your flight for international departures, and at least one hour beforehand for domestic travel.

A new feature from British Airways has rolled out at three more US airports, though, and it seeks to ensure the safety of travelers while simultaneously speeding things along. The biometric tool relies on facial recognition to screen approved passengers and keep the line moving.

Biometric e-gates rolled out by British Airways at three American airports.

Process works by comparing faces to stored images of visas and passports.

Biometric e-gates

According to an article on the “biometric e-gates” from The Verge, “Passengers still have to show identification and a boarding pass when they go through airport security. But when used instead of the traditional boarding process, British Airways says the gates dramatically decrease wait times. With the biometric gates at LAX, British Airways has been able to board ‘more than 400 customers in only 22 minutes,’ which the company says is less than half the normal amount of time.”

Facial comparison

The three new airports that will join the existing biometric process in place since last fall at Los Angeles (LAX) airport include New York’s JFK airport, Orlando International Airport, and Miami’s airport. The process works by comparing faces to the stored images of visas and passports, and other forms of identification. If the computer says you’re the guy in the photo, your boarding time stands to be faster.

Saftey + savings

This might sound like “wave of the future” travel technology, but some form of biometric scanning has been in place with a number of airlines for some time. The goal is to ensure that passengers arrive safely, of course, but also to limit the amount of delay and “cattle call” scrutiny that travelers have to endure, especially considering the high price of airline travel these days.


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