Posted on 06/02/2017 | About Boston, Massachusetts

JetBlue is bringing science fiction technology to the departure gate. Starting this month the airline will be testing facial recognition technology on flights from Boston to Aruba.

The once-ubiquitous paper boarding pass is already shunned by many travellers who prefer to use mobile boarding passes on their phones. Now pilot programs could render those obsolete too, as airlines aim to increase convenience for customers, and government agencies look to increase security.

JetBlue and US Customs and Border Protection will test facial recognition for passengers boarding flights from Boston's Logan Airport to Aruba starting later this month.

Volunteers will be photographed and their images will be searched against a Customs database of passport and other photos.

Passengers who are cleared will get a signal from a screen above the camera, telling them they can go ahead and board.

JetBlue said it would be the first airline to work with Customs to test biometrics for identifying passengers during boarding.

Delta recently started letting some members of its loyalty programme use fingerprints as proof of their identity to enter the airline's lounge at Reagan Washington National Airport.

The airline says that it plans to expand the test at National to let members use fingerprints to check a bag and board a plane without the help of an agent.

Boarding passes could someday become quaint relics for air travellers but until then, the boarding pass is still required to pass through the security check prior to getting to the gate.