Gatwick has announced it will become the UK’s first airport to use facial recognition cameras for passenger boarding on a permanent basis, condemning those of us who aren’t quite yet in sync with the technology to kicking off our holidays with an aura of exasperating inadequacy.
In what must be one of the most tasteless lyrics to come from a generation of innocuous, plinky-plonky indie pop bands, Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig once sang, “You got the luck of a Kennedy,” and we certainly felt that during our inaugural facial recognition experience at JFK last year.
The process is undeniably straightforward, but that’s probably what psychs us out. “Even the oldies are breezing through, look,” you think, as the machine counts you down to place your passport on the scanner – then you repeatedly remove it too soon and get ushered into a second queue with all the other divs who need to be seen to by a good old-fashioned sour-faced homo sapien.
Having self-boarding in our own backyard is our chance to finally master modern air travel. It shouldn’t be a big deal anymore. The boiled sweet days are over, and as much as you think it might be cute, there’s no charm in fumbling about like a skittish amateur from an old episode of Airline.