Air Canada has become the first Canadian airline to launch digital identification for its passengers.
On selected flights from Vancouver International Airport (YVR), when boarding flights to Winnipeg, passengers can now use facial recognition technology to confirm identification.
How Does the Air Canada Digital Identification Work?
There are three steps to creating a digital profile for digital identification on the Air Canada mobile app. Before the three steps open up the app, select the home tab from the secondary menu on the left, select ‘personal data,’ then select ‘digital identification’ from the ‘Personal data’ section. Then follow the three steps for creating a digital profile.
- The app will prompt you to take a picture of your passport, scan the passport chip, and then take a selfie. Facial recognition will take measurements of your face in both images, compare them, and authenticate if the photos match.
- A digital profile will be created on your mobile device if you are successful. It will contain only your selfie, a unique identifier, and details from your passport.
- Your facial biometrics are immediately deleted and will not remain part of your digital profile.
To create a digital profile, all app users must be over 18. Anyone under 18 still is required to show their boarding pass and government ID.
Passengers must use a mobile device compatible with Apple iOS 13+ and Android 7.0+ to complete the profile. Also, remember your government ID to complete the authentication process.
To use the digital ID for the trip, go to your gate number at Vancouver International Airport. You will be asked to confirm that you’d like to use facial recognition for that trip by tapping the “Yes, I consent to the use of my facial biometrics button.”
The Canadian airline has assured passengers that a digital profile is securely encrypted. The facial biometrics are immediately deleted, and the biometric faceprint in the day-of-travel gallery is encrypted and deleted within 36 hours of the departure of your flight.
Digital ID is voluntary, and passengers do not have to participate. They can show as normal their boarding pass and government ID instead.
More information about the digital identification system can be found here.
A Simplified and Seamless Process
Passengers using facial recognition technology will be able to have a seamless boarding option without the need for paper.
Craig Landry, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Air Canada, said:
“Many of our customers already utilize digital credentials to simplify their daily activities such as unlocking mobile phones, entering workplaces, verifying identification during financial transactions, and more. We are very excited to take a leadership position in Canada and test digital identification using facial recognition technology to validate customer identification quickly, securely, and accurately at select airport touchpoints. Participation in digital identification is voluntary. Customers using the digital identification system will benefit from a simplified and seamless process at the gate and when entering our Maple Leaf Lounges.”
The Minister of Transport for the Canadian government, Omar Alghabra, said:
“Our government and Canadian airlines and airports are eager to move forward with innovative solutions and technologies to modernize the traveller journey in airports across the country, which would enable a more seamless and efficient air transportation system. Air Canada’s pilot project will speed up processes at YVR and other airports where it’s established while respecting robust privacy measures and security standards. This project has great potential in making gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers while maintaining strong safety measures.”
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