If you thought the selfie would only ever be used to bombard your feed on Instagram, you were wrong. Dead wrong. JetBlue is looking to take those selfies and use them to check you in for your next flight.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the airline said it was partnering with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and SITA — an aviation IT company — to start using biometric facial recognition technology to match your face with the information on your ticket.
JetBlue will start its new process by launching a pilot program in June for flights from Boston's Logan International Airport to Aruba's Queen Beatrix International Airport. So if you are in Boston in June and boarding a JetBlue flight, you might see an option to step up to a camera and have your picture taken. The same way you would with your phone to share with your friends except, you know, for the government.
On the plus side, if this trial works out, the days of scanning your flimsy boarding pass might soon over as your face is scanned and sent to CBP's database instead. That's how this new system will work. After snapping a selfie to board the plane, your face will be matched with your passport, visa, and flight details. Once the CBP database recognizes you, a screen above the camera will give you the all clear allowing you to get on and proceed to fight with your fellow passengers for overhead bin space.
In a company press release, JetBlue's Executive Vice President of Customer Experience, Joanna Geraghty, noted that the new process would allow for more customer interaction:
We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve. Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you're on your way.
Crew members will receive iPad minis to monitor the new boarding process and assist customers. JetBlue believes this will move crew away from their awkward airport podiums to allow for more customer interaction.
At the moment, having your picture taken to board a JetBlue flight isn't mandatory and you will have the option to opt-in to it. Though, it wouldn't be hard to imagine a future where all airports require your selfies to verify your identity prior to boarding.
Y'all better get ready.
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