Delta Air Lines expanding facial recognition technology to Atlanta

ATLANTA — Your paper boarding pass and ID may soon be a thing of the past. Delta Air Lines said some travelers may soon be able to use their face to fly the friendly skies.

Delta said if travelers have TSA PreCheck and a Delta SkyMiles number, they can enroll in an expedited process using facial recognition.

The Atlanta-based airline first introduced the technology in Detroit in early 2021.

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“With just one look at a camera, customers who qualify and opt in can easily and efficiently check a bag, pass through the TSA PreCheck security line and board their plane,” Delta said in a statement.

Here’s how it will work:

  • Store your passport information and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number securely in your SkyMiles profile in the Fly Delta app.
  • Opt into the program at check-in using the Fly Delta app.
  • At the airport, look into the camera at bag drop, the security checkpoint and the boarding gate to use your digital identity in place of a physical ID and boarding pass.

Once a customer reaches a camera at the airport, their image is encrypted and sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s facial biometric matching service via a secure channel with no accompanying biographic data. CBP then verifies a customer’s identity against government holdings and sends back an indicator to allow the customer to proceed.

“The exclusive expansion of digital identity moves Delta one step closer to achieving our vision of creating a more personalized and fully connected travel journey,” said Byron Merritt, Delta’s Vice President of Brand Experience Design. “Our goal in turning pivotal moments like security and check-in into seamless experiences is to give time and focus back to the moments customers enjoy. Innovations like digital identity are implemented with the intention to transform the cohesive travel experience into a journey that our customers can truly look forward to.”

This isn’t the first time Delta has used facial recognition for traveling. In 2018, the airline launched the first fully biometric terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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“TSA appreciates working with industry stakeholders to design, build and test innovative technologies that enhance security and improve the passenger experience,” said TSA Requirements and Capabilities Analysis Acting Assistant Administrator Keith Goll. “We continue to work ceaselessly to leverage the latest technology and partnerships to ensure that the traveling experience of our PreCheck passengers is as seamless, convenient and secure as possible.”