American Airlines launches biometric boarding at DFW


Instead of scanning boarding passes, the one-step facial recognition programme will scan and verify a customer’s identity with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the gate.

American Airlines has launched biometric boarding for customers departing from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), as part of its biometric boarding programme at its largest hub.

Instead of scanning boarding passes, the one-step facial recognition programme will scan and verify a customer’s identity with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the gate. According to the airline, no customer biometrics will ever be stored.

American Airlines 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 programme 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.

“Facial recognition makes the process for verifying the identity of travellers more efficient, accurate and secure,” said Judson W. Murdock II, CBP Director of the Houston Field Office. “This technology also enhances the boarding process for international flights, which is a win-win for airlines and travellers.”

Agents will continue to ensure customers have their passports with them before departing. Customers with a U.S. passport may also choose not to use the new system and board with their regular boarding pass.

American implemented a biometric boarding programme at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) earlier this year. The carrier will continue evaluating the programme and its potential expansion to more locations and flights throughout its global network.