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Airplaline at Milan Italy's Linate airport
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These European airports are trialling a new passport-free boarding process

Here’s what we know about how it might affect your travel

Liv Kelly
Written by
Liv Kelly

Passports are the holiday essential that literally no one can travel without, but in the not-so-far future, you might no longer need one. Well, kind of. 

Two air hubs in ItalyMilan Linate Airport and Catania Airport – are trialling ‘FaceBoarding’, a facial recognition technology designed by French IT Company Thales, which means travellers can pass through security without showing their passport or boarding pass. 

Okay, it’s not quite as easy-breezy as that. Upon arrival at the airports, you’ll still need to register at FaceBoarding desks by scanning your passport or electronic ID card and matching it to a scan of our face. However, after you’ve registered at a desk once, from June the app for Faceboarding will allow users to match boarding passes of future flights too. That is easy breezy. 

ITA Airways and Scandinavian Airlines passengers are among the first to be trialled – travellers flying with other airlines will have to show their travel documents again before boarding. 

Biometric border checks will actually be standard across Europe for non-EU travellers from October 6 2024, as part of the EU’s Entry/Exit system. Most airports within the EU, apart from Cyprus and Ireland, plus non-EU countries such as Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, will apply the system, and UK travellers will have to submit fingerprints and face biometrics for this. 

The trial of FaceBoarding will be running until December 31, 2025, but don’t ditch your docs entirely, as you’re still required to carry them to catch your flight. 

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