IT may sound like a scene from a futuristic movie, but airports around the world are moving toward biometric boarding, with John F. Kennedy International in New York expanding the process this week.

Biometric boarding?

As a passenger approaches a self-boarding gate, a biometric camera captures your image and that is then sent to a verification service, which establishes you are who you say you are, before you are allowed to board.

And biometrics are?

An individual’s unique physical characteristics. Fingerprints and irises offer other forms of biometric recognition, while technology to analyse gait and handwriting is also in development.

Why is it being brought in?

Speed is cited as the main benefit of the process, with boarding time cut by at least half.

And it’s now at JFK?

Airline Lufthansa has deployed the paperless system at its biggest American gateway at the NYC airport’s Terminal 1. It comes in the wake of another airline, JetBlue, rolling out its first biometric self-boarding gate at JFK’s Terminal 5 last year.

It was also piloted at the departure gates of Emirates’ flights from Dubai to New York and Los Angeles through the peak periods in July and August.

President Trump wants it to become the norm?

He has backed efforts to use biometrics “to protect the nation from terrorist activities by foreign nationals admitted to the United States”.

It’s already in the UK?

Heathrow is in the middle of a trial that runs until December, saying “some tests are helping us automate systems which will make Heathrow faster and more efficient. Others are helping us make Heathrow safer”.

UK Border Force already uses biometric data and facial-recognition at Heathrow for immigration purposes and for domestic travellers departing from Heathrow.

Gatwick Airport has also confirmed plans to become the first British airport to permanently use facial recognition technology

British Airways are championing it?

BA became the first UK airline to use the technology to board flights from the US, with more than a quarter of a million customers using their face as their identity on flights in the 18 months leading up to April as trials expanded, while more than 3 million used it on UK domestic flights.

There are privacy concerns?

Some fear our faces will become someone else’s property, although airlines say they do not store passenger data. There are options to opt-out as well, but statistics show only a small percentage of travellers do so.

In the summer, privacy activists launched a new tool to help travellers avoid “invasive facial recognition technologies” in airports.

Activist organisations Fight for the Future and Demand Progress unveiled the website, which shows users which airlines deploy facial recognition. It also helps customers book flights with airlines that don’t use the technology.

Dubai has taken it further?

It is set to open a new automated form of passport control where a person’s identity will be checked as they walk through a virtual aquarium tunnel that has cameras disguised as fish.