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Heathrow passengers won't have to show a passport or boarding card at check-in from this summer thanks to new facial recognition technology

Passengers flying from Heathrow will no longer have to show a passport at check-in from this summer. Britain’s largest airport is insta...

Passengers flying from Heathrow will no longer have to show a passport at check-in from this summer.
Britain’s largest airport is installing permanent facial recognition technology in the hope that travellers spend less time going through checks. Boarding passes will also no longer be needed.
The £50m project will involve passengers going to automated kiosks to scan their passport and have their photo taken, according to The Times.

With more than 78 million passengers travelling through Heathrow a year, the technology will aim to reduce the time passengers spend going through.
The photo will then ‘match’ the person’s face to the document and their travel details.
While the airport already uses facial recognition when entering the country using the biometric e-gates, this will be the first time a British airport has used such advanced technology at every stage of passengers departing the country.

Gatwick, Britain’s second largest airport, said they too are looking into using the technology and will run a second trial of the technology next month.
Those travelling from Heathrow are required to show their passports at least three times on departure. Passengers flasg a passport on check-in or bag drop, security and before boarding the plane.
Heathrow’s management said that the facial recognition system was more reliable than manual checks.

In comparison to other major international airports Britain is behind on the advanced technology.
Alex Macheras, an aviation consultant, told The Times: ‘Major American airports already have this and Asia is light years ahead in technology.
‘From the point of view of convenience it undoubtedly works, although customers will have concerns about how their data is protected and airports must be transparent about this.’
Facial recognition systems in the US are being introduced for all international passengers whose faces are compared to a central database and don’t require people to scan their passport at the beginning of their travels.
Airline British Airways has said their move towards biometric boarding in the US has meant the time it’s taken to board flights has halved.
Jonathan Coen, Heathrow Customer Relations and Service Director, said: ‘As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure. 
Biometrics are key to helping us do that and we are really excited about the biggest roll out of this equipment at any UK airport.
‘With this technology we’ll be able to offer passengers choice on how they travel through our airport, with colleagues on hand to guide passengers that require it.
‘Biometric technology has been well received by our passengers so far and we’re looking forward to working with our colleagues and the airline community as part of our ongoing transformation at Heathrow, with a focus on enhancing passenger experience.’


  1. Looks like a gate to more Orwellian hell to me. To every sheep its own I guess. As long as it's faster, eh?
    Wait until it's no longer a choice to fly anything but biometric skies. Wait until they install the autoclosing doors before and after the chute/gate.

  2. How wonderful!!!! You can save all of five minutes!!! And have your life now a living hell as now you belong to the state....

  3. Sigh, looks like I'll never see the UK again. This sort of technology, while useful, is too easy to abuse.