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Travel through the airport without your passport
British Airways has become the first UK airline to trial the use of biometric technology for international flights, enabling customers taking part in the trial to travel through the airport ‘smartly’ without having to show their passport. In the US they have been using biometrics for quite a long time as those with Global Entry will be familiar with. In the UK BA has been using biometric boarding gates for domestic flights since 2017.
Customers who sign up to take part in the airline’s trial from London Heathrow Terminal 5 will be invited to scan their face, passport and boarding pass on their smartphone or tablet ahead of travel, with this information being kept secure.
When trial participants arrive at the airport, Smart Bio-Pod cameras verify their identity in under three seconds, allowing them to keep their passport safely in their pocket until they reach their destination.
David Breeze, Operations Transformation Manager for British Airways, said: “Not only is this the first time that our customers have been able to register their biometric information at home, but it’s the first time they can use it for British Airways’ international flights. This is a secure and efficient tool that makes for a smarter and smoother airport experience, which will reduce the time it takes us to board aircraft”
“The beauty of this technology is that it also frees our people up to look after more complex customer enquiries and deliver the best possible customer service.”
The trial will run for six months on British Airways flights to Malaga, Spain. Customers who opt-in will be invited to make use of the Fast-Track security lane and will receive complimentary priority boarding.
If the trial is successful, it’s expected to be extended to more international flights.
Select customers travelling from London Heathrow Terminal 5 are being invited to volunteer and will receive an email three days ahead of their flight.
Obviously, you still need to have your passport with you but anything that speeds things up is a bonus in my eyes – if travelling hand baggage only to certain destinations it will definitely help speed up a passport check.
American Express Shop Small is back
American Express is once again supporting small businesses with the return of its popular Shop Small Offer. 2022 marks ten years since the American Express Shop Small campaign launched in the UK (in 2012). While this is not strictly travel-related, it’s worth a mention as many readers have the BA credit card and it helps you get more value from it.
From 3 – 12 December 2022, American Express Cardmembers will receive a £5 statement credit when they spend £15 or more at participating small businesses across the UK. The offer can be used up to 5 times, once per participating small business location, meaning that Cardmembers can reward themselves with up to £25 back in statement credits.
You can receive up to 5 statement credits per Card, but only one statement credit per participating small business location. Multiple purchases made in a single purchase transaction will only qualify as one purchase for the purposes of this Offer. The offer excludes corporate cards.
You need to enrol for the Shop Small Offer, which you can do from today (16 November 2022), through the American Express® App or their Online Account. You can search for participating businesses via the Shop Small Map.