Qantas trials 'digital passport' stored in your smartphone

By Chris C., November 9 2018
Qantas trials 'digital passport' stored in your smartphone

Qantas has begun Australian trials of new technology to store your passport in a smartphone app and rely on facial recognition at key points within the airport.

The program is being introduced at Brisbane Airport and will allow passengers on three selected Qantas flights to keep their passport and boarding pass tucked away in their travel wallet when entering the Qantas lounge and at the boarding gate.

The month-long trial is open to passengers aboard Qantas flights QF51 from Brisbane to Singapore, QF61 to Tokyo and QF97 to Hong Kong who  opt-in for the facial recognition option during the check-in process.

They'll also need to have an Android device, as the special app required isn’t available to iPhone users.

Travellers can download the Qantas Facial Recognition app from the Google Play store and follow the prompts to scan their passport into the app using the phone’s camera, then compete the steps to verify the passport information and their travel details.

When you arrive at the airport – and particularly handy for passengers with only carry-on baggage – you’ll then be able to proceed straight to Brisbane’s Qantas international lounge if you have access, where you can scan your face, rather than a boarding pass, for entry.

The same applies at the boarding gate, where you’ll have a dedicated biometric boarding lane, provided your flight departs from gates 84 or 85 as planned, and can again smile for the camera to get on board.

A traditional or mobile boarding pass will still be needed to enter the international departures area, clear passport control, assist with any TRS claims and duty-free purchases and present to the cabin crew on board, and as goes without saying, you’ll still need to carry your passport.

This latest trial follows previous facial recognition tests held at Sydney, Brisbane and Los Angeles international airports, and gives a glimpse into what the future of international air travel could be like for all passengers.

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Chris C.

Chris is a a former contributor to Executive Traveller.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

02 Jul 2011

Total posts 1377

Still under 100 downloads on Android (listed as 10+).

Presumably would be incorporated in the main Qantas app if the trial succeeds

12 Dec 2012

Total posts 1027

Ugh. I hope this doesn't roll out everywhere. The fewer times I have to see this ugly depressing mistake of a face the better.

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