JetBlue Passengers Will Soon Be Able to Board Planes With Just a Selfie

Move is part of an integration project with SITA, U.S. Customs, and Border Patrol.

May 31, 2017 11:57 am
JetBlue Allowing Passengers to Board Planes Using 'Selfie'
Travelers check in at JetBlue Airways Corp.'s Terminal 5 at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) airport in New York, U.S., on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015. (Michael Nagle/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

You’ve got an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting in London tomorrow morning, but in a rush to get to the airport on time, you forgot your passport. You’re in the ticket line when you remember.

Right now, your only recourse is to reschedule that meeting—and circle back home to pick up your passport with your tail between your legs. But JetBlue airlines would like to make a forgotten passport a worry of the past.

JetBlue Testing 'Selfie'-Based Check-Ins at Airports

The airline just announced that it would be the first to test an integration project with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s biometric facial recognition database, using SITA technology. (That is, once you’ve gotten through the self-service check-in and security line.) At the gate, you’d simply step up to a camera, which would snap a “selfie” of you and then send it to a U.S. Customs database to match it with your passport/visa/immigration photo, and then once you’re OKed, you’d be allowed to board the plane.

Technophobes and conspiracy theorists need not worry, as the pilot program is opt-in. And of course, JetBlue is starting small; the paperless program will begin its rollout next month on flights from Boston’s Logan Airport to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport.

The selfie-based check-in system is seemingly as much about convenience as it is a reaction to recent customer service–related scandals that have plagued a number of airlines, such as United. “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,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience, JetBlue, in a statement. “Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”



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