Qantas Is Running Facial Recognition Airport Trials

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Sydney airport is currently a testing ground for biometric check-ins for flights. Select Qantas passengers are the subjects for the technology that aims for a more streamlined airport experience.

The trial involves using facial recognition for the biometrics processing of customers. At the present time, the trial involves for steps that follows passengers through automated check-in, bag drop, lounge access and boarding.

Some additional steps that have been proposed for future trials involve mobile check-in and automated border processing.

All of this basically means that in the future we may be able to complete the majority of airport check ins and processing with our faces.

"We’re very excited that select Qantas passengers now have the chance to experience this highly sophisticated technology as part of this landmark trial," said Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert

"We’ve worked with Qantas from the outset and are delighted to be partnering with them as we trial this technology. In the future, there will be no more juggling passports and bags at check-in and digging through pockets or smartphones to show your boarding pass – your face will be your passport and your boarding pass at every step of the process."

Qantas Chief Customer Officer' Vanessa Hudson also stated that the airline is placing an increased focus on technology.

"There is an increasing need for airlines and airports to offer faster and more convenient airport experiences and we’re excited to see what results the trial produces," said Ms Hudson.

"Qantas customers will not only be able to check in for their flight using the technology, it is also available for our lounge staff who can create a more personalised experience when passengers arrive."

While biometrics as a whole tends to make me uncomfortable, there's no denying the possible conveniences that a facial recognition airport process would deliver. Anything that speeds up time wasted in airport lines is attractive.

It's also worth reminding paranoid people like myself that Australian international airports already have our pictures anyway, as does any phone company with biometric security systems. A number of countries have my fingerprints in their flight systems too, not to mention the intimate search that went down between myself and a female security officer at the airport in Delhi.

So perhaps its worth leaning into the convenience this form of technology can bring. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see the data and findings that come out of the trial.

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