Say “cheese” for border security
Some people might be a little surprised when they walk up to our gate at Boston Logan International Airport and we don’t ask for a boarding pass. JetBlue just rolled out a new facial-recognition device for our Aruba-bound flights there. You just look at the thing, it takes your picture, recognizes you from your passport photo, and you get to walk on board. In my experience, flyers tend to think this process is pretty cool.
A few passengers—mainly the ones who are constantly flying down to their Caribbean timeshares—are already used to it. And it’s not much different than posing for selfies, which we all do all the time anyway. Little kids especially love it—when they can actually use it. The camera is 5 feet off the ground, so they’re not always tall enough. Their parents sometimes hoist them up. When that doesn’t work, the kids are often so disappointed that we give them pilot-wing pins as a treat.
What’s kind of funny to me is that plenty of people really care about how they look in this quick little snapshot. They’ll say things like: “That’s a terrible picture of me. Can I take it over?“or “Oh god, I look like my mother.”
And of course there are people who make silly faces at the camera. They can’t help themselves, especially big groups of vacationgoers. Luckily, the software doesn’t care if you smile or goof off. It actually recognizes features. So it has no problem ID’ing you no matter your expression. But there is at least one thing it struggles with: eyeglasses. Those are trickier for the camera than funny faces, so it’s best to remove them.