JetBlue to launch self-boarding program using facial recognition

JetBlue (NASDAQ:JBLU) will collaborate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA to test a new paperless and deviceless self-boarding process as part of ongoing trials to implement a biometric exit process in the future, the company said.

JetBlue will be the first airline to integrate with CBP to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers at the gate during boarding.

The program will start in June on flights from Boston´s Logan International Airport to Aruba´s Queen Beatrix International Airport. Customers can participate without any prior enrollment or registration.

Customers who opt in during the boarding process can put away their boarding passes and devices and simply step up to the camera for a quick photo. The custom-designed camera station will connect to CBP to instantly match the image to passport, visa or immigration photos in the CBP database and verify flight details.

The customer will be notified on an integrated screen above the camera when they are cleared to proceed to the jet bridge. The setup will move JetBlue crewmembers from behind the counter to interact with customers and assist throughout the process. JetBlue will issue iPad minis to crewmembers, giving them mobility to monitor and manage the boarding process while interacting with customers.

SITA, the global provider of IT, communications and border security solutions to airlines, airports and governments is providing the technology and connectivity to perform facial capture and integration with the CBP database as well as integration with JetBlue´s departure control system. If successful, the program will show how technology can make the boarding process simple and seamless for the traveler while enhancing U.S. national security through the implementation of biometric exit.

JetBlue is New York´s Hometown Airline®, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 40 million customers a year to 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1000 daily flights.