Fed up with fumbling for your passport at the airport? British Airways is trialing technology that will allow travelers to get through London Heathrow and onto the plane without having to show their passport. 

The British flag carrier says it is the first UK airline to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights. 

How does it work? 

The six-month trial takes place for selected passengers flying from LHR Terminal 5 to Malaga (AGP) in Spain, British Airways (BA) explained in a press release on November 15, 2022.  

Customers who sign up will be asked to scan their face, passport and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet before they travel. At the airport, Smart Bio-Pad cameras will verify the passenger’s identity in less than three seconds, without them having to show their passport. The biometric information will be kept secure, British Airways said.  

However, passengers will still need to show their passport at the destination airport, BA cautioned. 

“This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft,” commented David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways. 

British airways sign showing biometric boarding

Biometric boarding sign at the airport. Credit: British Airways

Does BA already use biometric technology? 

BA introduced biometric technology for domestic flights in 2017. For those, passengers’ facial scans are recorded at airport security and then matched up when they are at the boarding gate.  

“Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights,” Breeze said of the latest trial.  

If the trial is successful, BA intends to extend the technology, which has been created by Amadeus, to more international flights.  

As an added bonus, customers who sign up for the trial will be able to use the Fast-Track security lane and receive free priority boarding.