Barcelona airport tests facial recognition for check-ins and boarding

The future of air transport has already arrived in Barcelona. 


Aena, together with Vueling and the group of technology companies formed by Easier, IDEMIA, Indra, Materna-ips and Mobbeel, have launched a pilot facial recognition technology for check-ins and boarding.


This face recognition system implemented in Barcelona is the first in Europe to integrate all phases up to boarding. It uses biometrics to associate the traveller’s face with his or her identity card and boarding pass, so you can get to your seat on the plane without having to show documentation at any time at the airport, speeding up the whole process.


This new system is located next to the check-in desks, at the access to the safety filter and at the boarding gate, where the biometric data of the passenger, their facial features and identity documentation will be validated. 


The main objective is to allow passengers to board the flight without having to show their boarding pass or identification documents, therefore facilitating access to their flight. This new system will provide agility and speed to the passengers, as well as will increase safety. 


“This procedure saves time. Make the process more agile and easy because you do not have to present the documentation once you have registered. It will also serve to reduce human interaction in these times of covid, which could be important.» explains Calum Laming, Customer Director of Vueling.


Trials are expected to last around six months and it has been implemented only on the Barcelona-Malaga route operated by Vueling, one of the most «popular» of the company, with a frequency of about seven daily flights. However it is considered to extend it to other national destinations with high demand, such as Seville, Bilbao or Madrid. It will be tested for six months and if successful, it will be implemented in the entire airport network.


Aena had already started similar trials in Iberia flights from Barajas and of Air Europa departing from Menorca, but none of them allow passengers to self-check their bags without the help of an agent.