Facial Recognition Technology Replaces Boarding Passes At Berlin Brandenburg Airport

Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) has announced an exciting step towards facial recognition technology this week, which could render boarding passes obsolete.

Effective immediately, passengers travelling with certain airlines can pass through priority security without showing a boarding pass via a separate lane using facial recognition. 

woman walks towards Facial recognition technology gates at Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Passengers travelling with certain airlines can pass through priority security without showing a boarding pass. © Berlin Brandenburg Airport Media Library

Facial Recognition Technology: The Future Of Boarding?

With British Airways and Air Canada already taking steps to implement biometric processes, BER isn’t the first to announce the use of biometrics in the boarding process; however, this is the most robust commitment to the technology so far.

Passengers travelling with Lufthansa Group, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines and Eurowings’ HON Circle Members and Senators will be invited to register their biometric data with FastID, the service provider’s app. This one-time registration will allow them to whizz through security without digging around in their bag for their boarding pass.

Thomas Hoff Anderson, Chief Operations Officer of Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg GmbH said: 

“FastID is the right partner to help us make departures from BER faster and easier thanks to the opportunities offered by digital facial recognition.”

Before each flight, passengers will be able to opt-in to the service, which enables the flight data and biometric identifiers to be activated for authentication. Photographs taken by permanently installed cameras at BER will be encrypted and transmitted to FastID for comparison and authorisation. After the flight, the data is deleted from the FastID servers and remains in the passenger’s app for their record. 

Of course, using this technology is entirely voluntary, and if passengers change their minds, they can delete their data at any time.

Mr Hoff Anderson added:

“We are pleased to have persuaded the Lufthansa Group, one of our most important customers, of the great potential of facial recognition for smarter passenger processes at BER. This is a good basis for being able to offer the new “BER Traveller” product to other airlines’ passengers as well.”

Facial recognition technology gates at Berlin Brandenburg Airport
Photographs taken by permanently installed cameras at BER will be encrypted and transmitted to FastID for comparison and authorisation. © Berlin Brandenburg Airport Media Library

Speaking on the new installation, Albert van Veen, Geschäftsführer of FastID, says:

“The implementation at BER Airport represents a new era of identity control in travel – an era that is fully decentralised and gives individuals control over their own data. With FastID, BER Airport has given passengers the option of taking back responsibility for their journey, offering biometric identification for faster and smoother travel. FastID puts the passenger at the centre of the journey, enabling a fully convenient and safe experience.”

Lufthansa Group And BER Want More Digital Services

In addition to these advances, Lufthansa Group and BER have embarked on a joint project to expand the range of digital services offered to passengers. The following steps will be to make other services work with the facial recognition technology, including boarding at the gate, using the self-service machines, and accessing the Lufthansa Group Lounge.

Heike Birlenbach, Head of Customer Experience at Lufthansa Group, says:

“We are improving our passengers travel experience in the long-term through contactless, biometric services since they make airport processes simpler and more efficient. I am pleased that we can now also offer this innovative service to our HON Circle Members and Senators in Berlin. Our customers greatly appreciate this new service at all locations where biometric checks have already been introduced.”

What do you think about the introduction of facial recognition technology in boarding? Will you use this new service? Let us know in the comments below.

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Megan Carmichael
Megan Carmichael
Web Editor - After a long stint in Tech, Megan took her leave and followed a passion of writing! Megan started writing a blog in 2017, on and off, fully committing in 2020 when there was nothing else to do during the lockdown. Since then she has published in Outdoor Magazines, written website content for online businesses and wrote feature pieces on Travel, Lifestyle, Freelancing and more.
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