Narita Airport
Photo: Kuroten/Photo AC

Narita and Haneda airports will introduce facial recognition for international flights

From July 2021, passengers will no longer have to show their tickets or passports when boarding international flights

Emma Steen

Boarding aeroplanes is about to get a whole lot speedier with a new facial recognition system that Narita and Haneda airports are implementing this summer. The system, called Face Express, will automatically verify all passengers boarding a flight without the need for staff to manually check airline tickets and passports at the gate. 

The non-contact facial recognition procedure, already used in some airports around the world, begins by having passengers register a photo of their face at check-in. Later, when boarding the plane, passengers will have their faces scanned by a camera as a security measure instead of having to show their identification documents to airport staff. 

The new system will not only expedite the process of getting from the check-in desk to the plane, but will also help decrease the risk of Covid-19 transmission. 

Both airports have said they will begin using the new system in July in time for the Tokyo Olympic Games. The system will be used for all international flights, regardless of the airline. Of course, with international flights to and from Japan severely limited right now, and overseas spectators barred from the Olympics, there won’t be that many travellers to try it out at first. However, it’s good to know that Japan is getting everything in place for when the country can reopen again.

More from Time Out 

Take our Time Out Index survey and tell us what life is like in Tokyo

Kyoto Station could be getting its very own teamLab venue

Watch: 7-Eleven Japan has released a new anime miniseries on YouTube

This night tour in Nagano takes you to one of the best stargazing spots in Japan

Shu Uemura’s new global flagship store in Omotesando looks like a giant makeup box

Want to be the first to know what’s cool in Tokyo? Sign up to our newsletter for the latest updates from Tokyo and Japan.

Latest news