JetBlue is partnering with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to launch a fully integrated biometric self-boarding gate for international flights.
The gate, which uses facial recognition technology to verify travelers with a quick photo capture, will be available at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport for customers flying to select international destinations from Terminal 5.
The launch comes on the heels of the airline’s successful biometric boarding trials at Boston Logan International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and New York-JFK.
This week, JetBlue also became the first airline to partner with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to launch a one-step biometric boarding experience for customers flying to Nassau, Bahamas from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Since the program’s launch in 2017, more than 50,000 customers have participated in biometric boarding on 500+ flights across all four cities. There is no pre-registration required. Customers can step up to the camera for a photo match and make their way onto the aircraft.
Biometrics are the future of the airport and airline passenger experience, according to longtime travel industry analyst Henry H. Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group.
"Biometrics can substantially increase the volume of passengers processed for security or customs, and speed up boarding. All of this means that long term, airport terminals can be more efficient, serving the same number of people in the same or even less space. That will help keep costs down for airlines which, in turn, helps keep airfares down for consumers."
JetBlue plans to expand its biometric boarding program to more international flights from New York-JFK, Boston and Fort Lauderdale, and expects to pilot a biometric bag drop station at New York-JFK early next year.
“The success of JetBlue’s biometric boarding program is a testament to the airline’s ongoing work to create a personal, helpful and simple experience,” said Ian Deason, senior vice president of customer experience, JetBlue, in a release. “The boarding touchpoint is an area that needs innovation, and we feel biometrics will change the future of air travel as we look to create a more seamless journey throughout the airport.”
This latest biometric enhancement complements JetBlue’s existing self-service efforts, including self-service lobbies with interactive kiosks that feature self-bag tag and self-bag drop capabilities.
In other news from the airline, JetBlue recently celebrated World Kindness Day and JetBlue For Good Month by awarding grants to three nonprofits. The airline provided $75,000 in grants to Behind the Book in New York City; Detroit Public Safety Foundation’s Sisterhood: No Boundaries Program; and Heal The Planet in Fort Lauderdale.
The designated charities each represent one of JetBlue For Good’s three pillars: youth and education, the community, and the environment.