Air Canada Launched New Facial Recognition Tech & Here's What It Means For Travel (VIDEO)

It could make boarding a lot easier. ✈️

The tail of an Air Canada plane. Right: A person boarding with Air Canada.

The tail of an Air Canada plane. Right: A person boarding with Air Canada.

Air Canada passengers are getting a new feature that could make boarding a lot easier.

The airline has introduced facial recognition technology for identity verification, making it the first carrier to do so in Canada.

In a press release issued Tuesday, Air Canada announced the details of a new pilot project that's currently underway in which certain passengers will be able to use facial recognition technology when travelling with the airline.

According to Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra, the new technology will "speed up processes" at Vancouver International Airport and other Canadian airports where it's introduced.

It could also make "gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers," he said in the release.

The pilot project is currently available for passengers travelling from Vancouver International Airport when boarding select Air Canada flights to Winnipeg.

Those using the Air Canada Café in Toronto also have the option of using digital identification to gain entry.

While only available in these areas for the time being, the airline says it plans to expand digital identification to some Canadian airports and Maple Leaf Lounges as part of the pilot.

How does facial recognition work?

To use new digital identification technology, travellers will need to create a digital profile on the Air Canada app.

The app will ask passengers to scan their passport's picture page as well as scan the document's chip. Next, users will be prompted to take a selfie, which will be compared by facial recognition technology. If they're found to match, a digital profile will be created for the traveller.

From there, each time a passenger uses the Air Canada app to check in for a flight, they'll be asked to consent to using facial recognition for boarding (or entering lounges or cafes).

If you consent to this, your digital profile is sent to Air Canada. At the boarding gate, a camera will then scan your face and match it to your digital profile.

If the thought of scanning your face into your device scares you, don't worry — Air Canada's digital identification is strictly optional, and if you'd rather do things the good old-fashioned way (like manually checking in with your boarding pass), you still can.

Hopefully, though, the rollout means those long boarding times will soon be a thing of the past.

Katherine Caspersz
Katherine Caspersz is a Creator for Narcity Media focused on evergreen travel and things to do, and is based in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario.