British Airways plans to Google passengers ahead of flights

British Airways is to look up some passengers on Google before they arrive at the airport so they can be greeted with a smile.

In a move that has seen privacy campaigners whinging at the prospect of having a service that takes publically shared information to make your trip even more enjoyable, BA has said that its “Know Me" programme will use Google images to find pictures of passengers so that staff can approach them as they arrive at the terminal or plane.

According to a London paper, the Evening Standard, "BA staff will also search individual data held by the airline, including if a regular traveller has experienced problems on previous flights, such as delays, so that crew are primed to apologise."

“We’re essentially trying to recreate the feeling of recognition you get in a favourite restaurant when you’re welcomed there, but in our case it will be delivered by thousands of staff to millions of customers," Jo Boswell, head of customer analysis at BA told the paper. "This is just the start - the system has a myriad possibilities for the future.” 

BA added: “The most recent advancement of the system enables the British Airways team to search Google images for a photo of specific customers so they can recognise them and proactively approach them. The airline is aiming to send 4,500 personal recognition messages a day by the end of the year.”

Customers aren't currently able to ask BA not to look them up online, however we would suggest those who don't want to be greeted having been looked up, should either choose a different airline, or make sure there aren't pictures of themselves online for the company to search in the first place.