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At these airports, you don’t need boarding passes

These state-of-the-art/Skynet-esque airports use facial recognition instead of boarding passes. Time to gear up for the robot apocalypse!

Travelling on an airplane is not an easy task. First, we need to check-in to get the boarding pass printed. Then, we need to carry our boarding pass to security and get cleared. Once we have cleared that, we still need to get our boarding pass checked again at the gate before we can enter our flight. These multiple levels of checking can be time-consuming, leading many people to miss their flights. But now, thanks to facial recognition and biometric boarding, a printed boarding pass has become unnecessary and obsolete.

With technology upgrading at a fast pace and new innovations taking place almost every day, airports are bringing new changes to help make travel smooth and easy for passengers. The pandemic forced airport authorities to go completely contactless. Smart check-in was introduced, security gates were completely digitised and more such steps were taken to make travel safe again. That’s not all, after the pandemic airports saw an increase in passenger traffic. These two factors echoed the need of streamlining a passenger’s journey from the airport’s entry to the boarding gate.

Now, facial recognition has been introduced at airports to make passengers’ experience not only contactless but also hassle-free! The human face is replacing boarding passes and passports. Airports no longer need the passenger to show their passport and their boarding pass at the security check or the boarding gate, one simply needs to scan their face and they are good to go! No longer do travellers have to worry about misplacing their boarding pass or passport.

Here are 10 countries whose airports are replacing facial recognition with boarding pass:

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Tokyo, Japan – Haneda International Airport & Narita International Airport

Haneda International Airport and Narita International Airport are the two major airports in Tokyo, Japan that face the majority of passenger traffic. In July 2021, Tokyo International Air Terminal Corporation installed “Face Pass”, a facial recognition system that will allow passengers to board a flight without a boarding pass. Face Express kiosks have been installed at both airports where passengers need to register their passports, get their photos clicked and fill in their flight information. Once this process is completed, you can head to the self-service bag drop, and pass through the security gate and boarding gate with your facial id.

Image Credit: a9515z/pixabay

2 /10

India – Indira Gandhi International Airport (Delhi), Kempegowda International Airport (Bengaluru) & Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport (Varanasi)

Indira Gandhi International Airport, Kempegowda International Airport and Lal Bahudur Shastri International Airport are all going digital from December 2022. The government has launched Digi-Yatra, an app that aims at making your airport experience easy and comfortable. Once you have downloaded the app, you need to take a selfie and add your identification number (Aadhar credentials) and add boarding pass detail. At the airport, you’ll need to use the e-gate to scan your boarding pass and face to pass through. The e-gates use Face Recognition System (FRS) to recognise the passenger, using the face as a boarding pass. Now you can board a flight without a boarding pass.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

3 /10

United Arab Emirates – Dubai International Airport & Abu Dhabi International Airport

UAE is famous for being a step ahead when it comes to technological advancement. Emirates started an integrated biometric path at Dubai International Airport in 2020. With the aim to offer a contactless airport experience, passengers are supposed to register themselves for “The Smart Tunnel”. The tunnel uses your iris to recognise you and let you pass through.

The same is going to be implemented at Abu Dhabi International Airport. The advanced facial recognition technology is being tested in phases. The first phase is to be executed on Etihad Airways flights to the USA. The system is financed by Abu Dhabi Airports and delivered by NEXT50 (Abu Dhabi tech-based company).

Image Credit: Shutterstock

4 /10

Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur Internationa Airport

Being the largest and busiest airport in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur International Airport had announced that it will start using facial recognition to fasten the processing of passengers in 2021. From the beginning of 2022, the airport started implementing the technology. The passengers first need to register themselves at the Enrolment Totem located at the Departure of the airport. For registration, passengers would need to scan the boarding pass and airport. After this is done, passengers only need to scan their faces to go through security and the boarding gates.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

5 /10

Hong Kong – Hong Kong International Airport

Facial recognition has replaced document checking at Hong Kong International Airport too! Known as the “Single Token Travel Experience”, this technology started in 2019 onwards. Also known as Chek Lap Kok International Airport, the main airport of Hong Kong requires passengers to create a digital token by matching passengers’ biometric data with passport and flight details. The facial recognition system is installed at the e-security gate and the e-boarding gate, where the passenger’s face will be used to pass through smoothly and efficiently.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

6 /10

France – Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport & Orly Airport

The major airports of Paris, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport and Orly Airport, are testing facial recognition for boarding passengers. The airports will be temporarily storing a passenger’s data like flight details, passport and photo. Facial recognition systems are installed at various gates of the airport that will allow passengers to pass through without a boarding pass. The testing is only taking place with passengers flying with Ari Caraibes and French Bee airlines.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

7 /10

Spain – Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport

Aena, a Spanish company that manages over 40 airports in Spain, has started testing facial recognition for boarding passengers only at a particular gate of Josep Tarradellas Barcelona-El Prat Airport. Passengers have to either register Aena’s app or via the facial recognition kiosk available at the airport. After the passenger is registered, cameras at the security and boarding gate will use facial recognition to let them pass through without showing a passport or boarding pass.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

8 /10

United Kingdom – Heathrow Airport & Manchester Airport

Biometric boarding is available at Heathrow Airport and Manchester Airport; however, it is only for British Airways. Passengers flying from this British airline will have the facility to pass through the airport without using any physical documents. Every time a passenger will fly with British airways, they will have to register themselves at the airport so that the security and boarding gates can use facial recognition.

Image Credit: graceful/pixabay

9 /10

Germany – Frankfurt Airport & Munich International Airport

People flying with Lufthansa Airlines will get to enjoy the benefits of biometric registration when flying to and from Frankfurt Airport and Munich International Airport. Other airlines within the airports will not be providing this quick and efficient process. Lufthansa flyers will have to register on the Lufthansa app with their photo and passport. This data will be saved in the app with a safety pin code to secure your details. At the airport, the passenger simply needs to scan their face at the respective gates to gain access.

Image Credit: mathewbrowne/pixabay


10 /10


With many airports in the United States of America, it is airline carriers who have taken it as their mission to streamline the passengers’ experience at the airport. Delta Airlines, United Airlines and more American airlines are implementing biometric boarding for their passengers. But certain airlines are charging passengers to access the biometric boarding facilities at the airports. Passengers are to register on the airlines’ apps with their flight details, identity information and photo so that they can use facial recognition at the airport to smoothly cross all the gates.

Image Credit: mindconcepts/pixabay

Hero and feature image credit: courtesy of Joshua Woroniecki from Pixabay

This story first appeared here.

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