Qantas has commenced a trial of facial recognition technology at Brisbane Airport that will see travellers upload their passports to their mobiles and speed up their airport experience.

The trial began earlier this week and will run until early December with passenger feedback used to help Qantas prioritise future biometrics trials and investments. The Brisbane trial follows on from the Sydney trials which began in July this year (Read about that here).

The innovative technology allows travellers to upload their passport to their mobile phone for the first time and check in before they arrive at the airport.


The new initiative will eliminate the need for travellers to provide their passport and boarding pass at the lounge or boarding gate, helping speed up their airport experience

The question is, “Will travellers be happy to give over their personal information?”. According to Qantas, the 2018 IATA Global Passenger survey revealed that “65 per cent of passengers would be willing to share their personal information if it helped speed up the airport process”.

Qantas is leading the way in new technologies for biometrics, and say they have already processed more than 20,000 customers through existing facial recognition trials in Brisbane, Sydney and LA.


So how does it work?

  • Passengers register on their Android device. (Note – trial does not include iPhones) 
  • Passengers download the Qantas Facial Recognition App from the Play Store
  • Once downloaded, customers then store their passport details and photo on the app
  • Their data is safely secured and when customers are passing through the airport to the lounge or at the boarding gate, their passport data is matched to their face via cameras, eliminating the need to show their boarding pass or passport
  • Customers without bags will be able to proceed directly to immigration and avoid going to the check-in desks or kiosks in the terminal

Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development, Phil Capps says of the new initiative, “Customers have told us that they want to move seamlessly through the airport without having to present travel documents at every stage of their airport experience,

“What’s unique about this technology is it allows customers to securely store their passport details on their mobile phone which is matched to their face via cameras while moving through the airport,” He said.

Digital recognition certainly has its advantages, but it will never replace the customer service that our team are renowned for and there will always be Qantas staff on hand to assist.”

Qantas Head of Product Strategy and Development, Phil Capps

The trial is currently limited to passengers who volunteer to take part and are travelling only on flights from Brisbane to Singapore, Tokyo (Narita) and Hong Kong.


What do you think of the new facial recognition trials? Would you be keen to hand over your information?