How Eurostar SmartCheck at London Terminal Allows Biometric Check-In

July 18, 2023

High-speed rail service Eurostar has launched the facial biometric check-in service for business customers. The first-ever biometric walkthrough implemented at London’s St Pancras is likely to replace post-Brexit check-ins for premium travelers making the process hassle-free.

British tech firm IProov has developed this SmartCheck system, as part of the UK’s Department of Transport’s Innovation project that started in 2020.

Eurostar’s Smartcheck, a contactless onboarding system, allows by-passing three checkpoints, including British passport control, ticket-checking at the gate, and thirdly, destination country’s passport checks.

Here Is How Eurostar SmartCheck  Works

It’s to be noted that passengers may have to link their tickets and details on SmartCheck enroller app, hours before departure.

Travelers will have to take the following steps to use Eurostar Smartcheck.

  1. Downloading the app
  2. Putting the details which may include scanning the face, entering the passport number, and other required information.
  3. Linking the ticket in App
  4. Confirming the travel, 24 hours before departure
  5. Upon arrival at St Pancras, using dedicated SmartCheck lanes
  6. Using an X-Ray Machine Upon Entrance
  7. Following lane to French Passport Control

According to Eurostar, FAQ section, only Carte Blanche holders and premium business customers will be using Eurostar SmartCheck service for now. The passengers will have to walk through the dedicated lane at a normal speed to allow the system to detect their faces. They will still need to carry their passports for showing them to French border officers.

What Is the Future Scope of Service

At present Eurostar SmartCheck is limited to travel from London to Paris. However, in the future, it will be expanded to more destinations and passengers other than business class.

Successful implementation of Eurostar may lead to automated cross-border travel where passengers don’t have to wait in long queues for showing tickets and proving their identity to the border forces.

As TNW quoted Eurostar C.E.O Gwendoline Cazenave, “We wanted to show that seamless, automated cross-borders are not just science fiction — they’re now a reality”.

Who Controls the Data of Eurostar Passengers Using Facial Biometrics for Check-In

A hassle-free travel, free from security and ID checks is not a remote dream anymore due to technological advancement in biometric verification systems.

The major challenge is who controls the data the users share for verifying and authenticating their identity at airports, train stations, and borders. In the case of Eurostar SmartCheck project, the data which only remains in users’ smartphones, is then shared with ticket gate and passport control systems. The data is then deleted after 48 hours.