TRAVEL NEWS – Delta launched its biometric pilot program (in partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection) back in 2016. Since then it has expanded its services and now includes five major airports: Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Detroit, Minneapolis, and Atlanta.

For international travelers departing out of Atlanta International Airport, biometric technology is not limited to the boarding process. According to Delta, customers can use facial recognition technology from curb to gate, including to:

  • Check-in at the self-service kiosks in the international terminal.
  • Drop checked baggage at the counters in the international terminal.
  • Serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint.
  • Board an international flight at any gate in Concourse F, as well as international flights departing from Concourse E.
  • Go through U.S. Customs for international travelers arriving into the U.S.

What does this mean for privacy advocates? Delta offers the following option: “​If a customer does not want to use facial recognition, they just let a Delta employee know and proceed through the airport as they’ve always done. Delta doesn’t save or store biometric data, nor does it plan to.”

Biometric technology and use appear to be spreading and not just with Delta: American Airlines and JetBlue also offer biometric boarding for select international flights.

In an article posted in its news hub, Delta points to market testing, which shows “that 72 percent of passengers prefer facial recognition to standard boarding.” It should be interesting to see if that percentage increases or not over time.

Graphic provided by Delta Airlines