Destinations You Don't Need A Boarding Pass At These Airports Around The World, Just Your Face

You Don't Need A Boarding Pass At These Airports Around The World, Just Your Face

Facial recognition is replacing boarding pass and passports on these airports, making your travel experience smooth and easy.


By Priyaja Bakshi Published on Jun 01, 2023, 01:00 PM

You Don't Need A Boarding Pass At These Airports Around The World, Just Your Face
Image Credits: Joshua Woroniecki/pixabay

With DigiYatra launched in India, you no longer need to carry a printed boarding pass through to the airport! Thanks to facial recognition, the entire process has become paperless and hassle-free. However, India is not the only country that is using facial recognition to make a passenger’s airport experience tension-free and might we add, paper-free (to some extent). We have here a list of some airports around the world that have replaced printed boarding passes with biometric boarding.

Travelling on an airplane is not an easy task. First, we need to check-in to get the boarding pass printed. Then, we need to carry our boarding pass to security and get cleared. Once we have cleared that, we still need to get our boarding pass checked again at the gate before we can enter our flight. These multiple levels of checking can be time-consuming, leading many people to miss their flights. But now, thanks to facial recognition and biometric boarding, a printed boarding pass has become unnecessary and obsolete.

With technology upgrading at a fast pace and new innovations taking place almost every day, airports are bringing new changes to help make travel smooth and easy for passengers. The pandemic forced airport authorities to go completely contactless. Smart check-in was introduced, security gates were completely digitised and more such steps were taken to make travel safe again. That’s not all, after the pandemic airports saw an increase in passenger traffic. These two factors echoed the need of streamlining a passenger’s journey from the airport’s entry to the boarding gate.

Now, facial recognition has been introduced at airports to make passengers’ experience not only contactless but also hassle-free! The human face is replacing boarding passes. Airports no longer need the passenger to show their passport and their boarding pass at the security check or the boarding gate, one simply needs to scan their face and they are good to go! No longer do travellers have to worry about misplacing their boarding pass or passport.

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Here are 10 countries whose airports are replacing boarding passes with facial recognition

Haneda International Airport and Narita International Airport are the two major airports in Tokyo, Japan, that face the majority of passenger traffic. In July 2021, Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation installed “Face Pass”, a facial recognition system that will allow passengers to board a flight without a boarding pass. Face Express kiosks have been installed at both airports, where passengers need to register their passports, get their photos clicked and fill in their flight information. Once this process is completed, you can head to the self-service bag drop, and pass through the security gate and boarding gate with your facial id.

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Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi), Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru), Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (Varanasi), Pune International Airport, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport (Hyderabad), and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport (Kolkata) are all digital now, thanks to DigiYatra.

The government launched DigiYatra, an app that aims to make your airport experience easy and comfortable. Once you have downloaded the app, you need to take a selfie and add your identification number (Aadhar credentials) and add boarding pass details. At the airport, you’ll need to use the e-gate to scan your face to pass through. The e-gates use Face Recognition System (FRS) to recognise the passenger, using the face as a boarding pass.

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UAE is famous for being a step ahead when it comes to technological advancement. Dubai International Airport no longer requires passengers to show their passports or boarding passes. They have started a biometric system that allows passengers to walk through the terminal by scanning their faces. Expats, Emiratis and visitors whose data has been with GDRFA (General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners) since 2019 can use this system. The airport has 122 smart gates that have been tested by more than 12 million passengers in 2022, reported Gulf News.

Abu Dhabi International Airport has started the first phase of the biometric boarding services. NEXT50, an Abu Dhabi-based tech company, is introducing artificial technology that will allow travellers to scan their faces to gain entry. You don’t need to have a printed boarding pass or an identity card. This technology is being deployed at selected immigration e-gates and boarding gates.

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Being the largest and busiest airport in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International Airport had announced that it will start using facial recognition to fasten the processing of passengers in 2021. From the beginning of 2022, the airport started implementing the technology.

The passengers first need to register themselves at the Enrolment Totem located at the Departure of the airport. For registration, passengers would need to scan the boarding pass and airport. After this is done, passengers only need to scan their faces to go through security and the boarding gates.

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Facial recognition has replaced document checking at Hong Kong International Airport too! Known as the “Single Token Travel Experience”, this technology started in 2019 onwards. Also known as Chek Lap Kok International Airport, the main airport of Hong Kong requires passengers to create a digital token by matching passengers’ biometric data with passport and flight details. The facial recognition system is installed at the e-security gate and the e-boarding gate, where the passenger’s face will be used to pass through smoothly and efficiently.

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The major airports of Paris, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport, are testing facial recognition for boarding passengers. The airports will be temporarily storing a passenger’s data like flight details, passport and photo. Facial recognition systems are installed at various gates of the airport that will allow passengers to pass through without a boarding pass. The testing is only taking place with passengers flying with Ari Caraibes and French Bee airlines.

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Aena, a Spanish company that manages over 40 airports in Spain, has started testing facial recognition for boarding passengers only at a particular gate of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Passengers have to either register Aena’s app or via the facial recognition kiosk available at the airport. After the passenger is registered, cameras at the security and boarding gate will use facial recognition to let them pass through without showing a passport or boarding pass.

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Biometric boarding is available at Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport; however, it is only for British Airways. Passengers flying from this British airline will have the facility to pass through the airport without using any physical documents. Every time a passenger will fly with British airways, they will have to register themselves at the airport so that the security and boarding gates can use facial recognition.

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People flying with Lufthansa Airlines will get to enjoy the benefits of biometric registration when flying to and from Frankfurt Airport and Munich International Airport. Other airlines within the airports will not be providing this quick and efficient process. Lufthansa flyers will have to register on the Lufthansa app with their photo and passport. This data will be saved in the app with a safety pin code to secure your details. At the airport, the passenger simply needs to scan their face at the respective gates to gain access.

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With many airports in the United States of America, it is airline carriers who have taken it as their mission to streamline the passengers’ experience at the airport. Delta Airlines, United Airlines and more American airlines are implementing biometric boarding for their passengers. But certain airlines are charging passengers to access the biometric boarding facilities at the airports. Passengers are to register on the airlines’ apps with their flight details, identity information and photo so that they can use facial recognition at the airport to smoothly cross all the gates.

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Hero and Featured Image credit: Joshua Woroniecki/Pixabay

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Written By

Priyaja Bakshi

Priyaja Bakshi

Priyaja took her love for reading to the next level by majoring in English and minoring in Journalism at Lady Shri Ram College For Women (DU). She is extremely curious about the world and wishes to visit all the countries once in her life. She identifies as a foodie and loves to spend her free time exploring different cuisine and curating new dishes. ..Read More

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