WestJet Is Starting A Facial Recognition Boarding Trial In Canada & Here's How It Works

No more carrying a passport or boarding pass. Is this the future?

Western Canada Editor
WestJet Is Starting A Facial Recognition Boarding Trial In Canada & Here’s How It Works

A first-of-its-kind trial in Canada will see WestJet staff use facial recognition on some travellers prior to boarding their flights.

The trial is being carried out at Calgary International Airport and WestJet describes the experience as "a touchless process that uses safe and secure facial verification technology" to verify travellers before they get on a flight.

Instead of a physical copy of a passport and boarding pass, all documentation is carried in a "digital identity wallet."

These wallets have been created by TELUS and travellers access the information through apps on their smartphones. The current system is available for both IOS and Android phones.

The contactless document is validated and approved when a facial verification scan is matched with the traveller's information that was uploaded to the app before boarding.

"The travel experience is evolving to include many touchless processes and WestJet is innovating to ensure our guests' travel journey improves to become more seamless and efficient, while prioritizing safety above all," said Stuart McDonald, executive vice president and chief information officer.

Ibrahim Gedeon, chief technology officer at TELUS, added, "As air travel gradually reopens, the passenger experience continues to evolve. Our groundbreaking, built in Canada solution allows travellers to enjoy a secure, touchless identity verification experience, while ensuring they are able to maintain control of their personal data."

According to WestJet and TELUS, travellers have control of their personal information at all times, meaning they can share it when required to at boarding but they can also remove it when they are not travelling.

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