Gatwick introduces facial recognition tech to slash boarding queues

Gatwick Airport is testing facial recognition systems on self-boarding gates that could slash queues to just 20 seconds.

Biometric technology verifies passenger details at bag-drop points and then confirms this at self-boarding gates.

easyJet passengers could be getting ahead of the crowds as it helps Gatwick trial facial recognition for boarding

easyJet passengers could be getting ahead of the crowds as it helps Gatwick trial facial recognition for boarding: Chris Sampson/Wikipedia

Gatwick sources say the final boarding checks will take less than 20 seconds to complete.

Not all passengers will get to use the new system, the trial is being carried out with easyJet.

The system won’t be compulsory, with passengers given the opportunity to opt out and use the current boarding system.

Passengers worried about giving up personal data, have been reassured by Gatwick Airport that all information collected will be destroyed after 24 hours.

Facial recognition is now in use at Gatwick - but it is optional... for now

Facial recognition is now in use at Gatwick – but it is optional… for now

Gatwick will be looking at how long each interaction takes, what this means for queue times, how it simplifies the passenger journey, how passengers interact with the technology, and how intuitive the process is.

It’s hoped the faster, more efficient process will offer the potential to improve aircraft departure times. This in the week that Gatwick was rated second-worst UK airport for delays.

The trials will last for three months and airport chiefs expect around 10,000 passengers to use the end-to-end Biometric system.


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Gatwick Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Woodroofe, said: “Gatwick prides itself on providing innovative solutions to enhance the passenger experience at every touch point.

“With the rate of growth we have experienced, it is essential we are able to find more efficient ways of processing passengers through the airport safely and securely.

“Self-boarding technology is the obvious next piece in the jigsaw following extensive investment in our automated check-in and security processing areas.”

easyJet’s Director of Ground Operations, Karen Cox, said: “We are trialling new facial recognition technology at Gatwick for the first time which, if rolled out, could revolutionise the boarding experience for our customers.

“The technology streamlines the processes our customers go through, saving them tie and enhancing their travel experiences.”

Passengers urged to not pack food and snacks in hand luggage – read more here.


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