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London Heathrow begins world’s largest biometrics roll-out

9 Comments

London Heathrow is to streamline the passenger journey from check-in to take-off, with new biometric technology that is designed to reduce the average passenger’s journey time by up to a third.

The new technology uses facial recognition at check-in, bag drops, security lanes and boarding gates to create a seamless experience for passengers travelling through the airport.

The £50 million project is part of a wider program of investment to streamline passenger journeys and once complete will mean that Heathrow will have one of the world’s largest deployments of biometric products.

Currently, manual authentication means that passengers need to present different forms of ID such as boarding cards, booking reference numbers as well as their passports to different agents to show that they’re authorised to travel. By offering passengers the option to use more instant facial recognition technology they will have the choice to streamline that process and collectively significantly reduce the amount of paper used when flying.

The long-term aim of the technology will be for passengers to be able to walk through the airport without breaking their stride. Something, it seems, most travellers would welcome. IATA research shows that 64% of passengers would choose to share their biometric data in exchange for a better experience when travelling. Facial biometrics are more accurate than manual checks and offer increased security, demonstrating how technology helps us without impacting on passenger experience.

Heathrow has already begun using facial recognition in some stages of the passenger journey, both on entry to the UK at the Border with the biometric e-gates. The technology is also used for domestic journeys through the airport, but this will be the first time that Heathrow will use the technology at every stage of the departing passenger’s journey. This has the potential to allow for greater personalisation of passenger services, useful for passengers requiring additional assistance.

Heathrow Customer Relations and Service Director, Jonathan Coen, said, “As our passenger numbers continue to grow, we must look for innovative ways to make it easier and quicker for them to travel through Heathrow with choice, whilst keeping our airport secure. Biometrics are key to helping us do that and we are really excited about the biggest roll out of this equipment at any UK airport. With this technology we’ll be able to offer passengers choice on how they travel through our airport, with colleagues on hand to guide passengers that require it. Biometric technology has been well received by our passengers so far and we’re looking forward to working with our colleagues and the airline community as part of our ongoing transformation at Heathrow, with a focus on enhancing passenger experience.”

The full-scale roll out of the new biometric services will take place from the summer of 2019.

© Asia Travel Tips

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

9 Comments
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Good because Customer Service was one of the worst over there, actually most parts of Britain.

For example, If talking about the shops, if you're an asian and want to buy a pair of sneakers, or any electronics, the staff tell you that's the only one they've got, you either take the display or they make you choose another one you don't want to buy.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

if you're an asian and want to buy a pair of sneakers, or any electronics, the staff tell you that's the only one they've got, you either take the display or they make you choose another one you don't want to buy

The solution is not to buy anything in duty free as you can find everything cheaper elsewhere.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

For example, If talking about the shops, if you're an asian and want to buy a pair of sneakers, or any electronics, the staff tell you that's the only one they've got, you either take the display or they make you choose another one you don't want to buy.

I am afraid this seems highly unlikely - do you have any evidence for this? The retailers would have no incentive to do this and many of their customers are from ethnic minorities.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

BackpackingNepal

Having returned to the UK after living in Japan I agree that customer service here is terrible, not just in Heathrow but nationwide. I don't think your treatment was based on race. I'm white British and find things just as bad. The influx of young EU citizens has improved service, but, unfortunately, that may come to an end as they all go home after Brexit. Many have already left because of the uncertainty of their situation here.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, compared to the US airports customer service at LHR is not that bad at all, especially at T2. Every now and then you may encounter some rudeness from World Duty Free personnel but that's it really.

At Newark or Miami they don't give a damn about you being a customer at all...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It's not just the customers who are from ethnic minorities but many of the staff are! Yep customer service generally isn't great in the UK but on the flip side it isn't annoyingly false so you can just do what you need to pretty easily and quickly I find.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

However, I used Heathrow just a few weeks ago and the process from bag drop through security was excellent, both friendly and efficient.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Havent been back to the UK in ages as almost everyone in my family immigrated to Canada. Does anyone know if the UK is fingerprinting now?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

At Newark or Miami they don't give a damn about you being a customer at all...

It's New Jersey (New Joisey). What do you expect? I can't say about Miami, though.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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