Skift Take

It's not clear using biometrics is easier for passengers or quicker for airlines. But there's a congressional mandate for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to identify people as they exit the country, and this is one way to do accomplish that.

Delta Air Lines deploying facial-recognition technology to replace passports and tickets at Atlanta’s airport in a test that could lead to more widespread use of biometric identification for flyers.

The new system will be phased in on Oct. 15 at check-in kiosks, baggage-drop counters, security checkpoints and boarding lines for international flights in Terminal F of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta said Thursday.

If customers take to the technology at the world’s busiest airport, and it helps to reduce boarding times and shorten long lines, the biometrics will be rolled out to other domestic and international airport terminals, said Delta Chief Operating Officer Gil West.

“If it works in Atlanta, it’ll work anywhere,” West said.

The service is optional for now. To use it, customers will enter their passport information during online check-in. Then, at each transition point at the airport, passengers will approach the kiosks with cameras to scan their faces and wait for a green check mark before proceeding to the next spot. Passengers flying with Delta partners Aeromexico, Air France KLM, and Virgin Atlantic Airways are also eligible to use the service, the U.S. carrier said.

Streamlining Travel

Airlines and security agencies are experimenting with fingerprint scans and facial-recognition technology to streamline the traveling experience for passengers. In June, the Transportation Security Administration became the latest participant, using fingerprint scans at the Denver and Atlanta airports to identify passengers and their flying itineraries in lieu of official identification papers and boarding passes.

The new technology is in line with a Congressional mandate for Customs and Border Protection to begin using biometrics to identify people as they exit the country, according to John Wagner, deputy executive assistant commissioner at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

By partnering with airlines and airports, the agency is “solving a complicated security mandate by focusing on the traveler experience,” Wagner said. “What we’ve heard from travelers is, if it’s quicker, makes them more secure and it’s easier to do, then they’re all for it.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Natasha Rausch from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]

November 16, 2022
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX and Online
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Tags: airline innovation, biometrics, delta air lines

Photo credit: A Delta Air Lines employee guides a customer through the biometric process. Delta is expanding a test to Atlanta, its busiest hub. Delta Air Lines