Biometric boarding is the future of commercial aviation and is becoming more widespread and American Airlines is the latest airline to use the technology this week at its largest hub Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
American customers traveling on select international departures from DFW Terminal D can now use biometric boarding. Instead of scanning boarding passes, the new one-step facial recognition program scans and verifies a customer’s identity with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in seconds at the gate. With this new process, no customer biometrics will ever be stored.
As the largest carrier at DFW, American offers 91 daily international departures to 63 destinations worldwide. The airline plans to expand biometric boarding to nearly 75 international gates throughout Terminals A, B, C and D by the end of this year.
“American is committed to ensuring that DFW remains a premier gateway,” said Cedric Rockamore, vice president of DFW hub operations at American. “As its largest hub, implementing new technology like biometric boarding gives us the opportunity to enhance the airport experience in partnership with CBP. This new technology allows us to provide a more seamless and modern experience for both our customers and team members.”
When customers begin the boarding process, the facial recognition program will scan an image of their face and send it to an existing cloud-based CBP database. The system then instantly matches the image against the passport photo already on file with CBP, and, if it sends back a yes, the customer is cleared to board within seconds at the gate. Otherwise, the agent will simply manually clear the customer using the regular clearance process.
Agents will continue to ensure customers have their passports with them before departing. Customers with a US passport may also choose not to use the new system and board with their regular boarding pass.
American implemented a biometric boarding program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) earlier this year. The carrier said it will continue evaluating the program and its potential expansion to more locations and flights throughout its global network.