Dubai flights: High-speed check-in, immigration at airport; a step-by-step guide

The touchless, smart travel system that uses facial recognition will be extended to all travellers from 2023


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Wed 16 Nov 2022, 5:30 PM

Consent to the use of biometric data is all it takes for international travellers flying with Emirates to breeze through Dubai International Airport Terminal 3. From next year, a smart check-in and boarding process that uses facial recognition will be made available to international travellers.

Previously, only UAE residents and GCC nationals could avail the process that does not require passengers to take out their identification documents at multiple points throughout the airport.

Here is all you need to know:

Who will the new process benefit?

The process will ensure a faster and more efficient airport experience for travellers transferring to connecting flights, as well as those who arrive in Dubai as their final destination. The facility is available only at Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport.

How can travellers give consent to their biometric data being used?

This can be done in a couple of clicks through the Emirates app. Additionally, they can give their consent at Emirates self check-in kiosks, or in person at check-in desks.

How does the system work?

Artificial intelligence-powered systems recognise travellers’ unique facial features and link them to their passports for instant identity verification. This helps them breeze through formalities at check-in, boarding and immigration.

How can a traveller use the system?

The Dubai airport had rolled out the smart travel system in February last year. Back then, officials had explained that the process entails the use of a mix of facial and iris recognition.

  • Step 1, register: First-time users must register their passports on the facial recognition system.
  • Step 2, immigration: Passengers walk through a ‘smart tunnel’ that uses facial recognition to identify them.
  • Step 3, lounge facilities: Biometric data will allow eligible passengers to use the lounge facilities without the need for them to take out documents.
  • Step 4, final boarding: Passengers can use the same mechanism at the boarding gates without needing to show their travel documents.


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