Eurostar Becomes World's First Rail Service to Implement Biometric Check-In

Breeze through by uploading your ID before your trip then simply walk through facial recognition checkpoints.

Eurostar, the high-speed international rail service connecting the UK with Europe, has just rolled out some fresh new tech.

Select Eurostar ticket holders can now opt in to benefit from a faster and more seamless check-in service before boarding their Eurostar train. The London St Pancras station is now equipped with SmartCheck, a contactless facial biometric check-in system that allows travelers to only go through one passport check instead of two, cutting time spent in line and going through security processes.

The way it works is pretty simple. If you are an Eurostar Business Premier or Carte Blanche passenger, you can decide to opt in the service before traveling through the handy SmartCheck app, which can be downloaded from both the Apple App Store and Google Play. From the comfort of your own home, scan your form of ID through the app together with your train ticket, and you're all set. Once you head over to the station, you'll simply have to go through a dedicated SmartCheck corridor, where walk-past facial biometric checkpoints are installed and replace the check-in process at the gates. After that, you'll only have to go through baggage inspection and one passport check through French border control.

"Providing a seamless station experience to our customers is a priority for Eurostar: we continue looking for solutions to increase capacity in stations and simplify the passengers' flows," Gwendoline Cazenave, Eurostar Group's CEO, said in a statement. "SmartCheck in St Pancras International station is a solution for a faster and seamless check-in experience. By introducing SmartCheck, we become the first rail travel operator to adopt biometric face verification. This innovation will enhance our customer departure journey, which is crucial to provide Eurostar's unique travel experience."

You don't have to worry about privacy and security, either. The process is completely voluntary, and users who decide to opt in will have to authenticate themselves before they even head over to the station. If you do decide to use the service, your data will be safe, too. In an email, a spokesperson shared with Thrillist that the data is processed in compliance with GPR law, and it is not shared with any outside parties. Additionally, within 48 hours of the user's travel the data is deleted.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube.

Serena Tara is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.