Delta Air Lines in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is set to launch the first biometric terminal in the United States at Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal (Terminal F) in Atlanta.
Starting at last quarter of 2018, customers flying direct to an international destination have the option of using facial recognition technology from curb to gate, transforming the customer journey with a seamless travel experience through the airport.
Customers traveling on partner airlines Aeromexico, Air France-KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways out of Terminal F are eligible to use this technology too.
Commenting on the new initiative, Delta’s COO, Gil West said, “Launching the first biometric terminal in the U.S. at the world’s busiest airport means we’re bringing the future of flying to customers traveling around the globe.
“Customers have an expectation that experiences along their journey are easy and happen seamlessly — that’s what we’re aiming for by launching this technology across airport touch points.”
Delta employees’ input has been key to move facial recognition from testing to this full-scale launch — they’ve provided invaluable feedback on everything from the best camera angle for a successful scan to an added device enhancement that better facilitates face-to-face interactions with customers.
Based on initial testing, the facial recognition option not only saves up to nine minutes per flight, but provides employees an opportunity to have more meaningful interactions with customers throughout the journey.
In his comment, Balram Bheodari, interim general manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport said, “This is the latest example of Delta’s investment in, and partnership with, the world’s busiest and most efficient airport. We are looking forward to bringing the future of travel to life with Delta, CBP and TSA.”
On how it works, the airline said: “Customers flying direct to an international destination from Atlanta’s Terminal F wanting to use this option simply enter their passport information when prompted during online check-in.”
The airline further stated that travelers will need to have their passports available and should always bring their passports when they travel internationally for use at other touch points during their trip. It however, pointed out that, if customers do not want to participate, they just proceed normally, as they’ve always done, through the airport.
CBP commissioner, Kevin McAleenan, assured that “Delta and CBP have developed a strong partnership over the years, and share a common vision for enhancing security and the traveler experience. “Together with innovative partners like Delta, TSA and ATL, we are using technology to create a secure, efficient and simplified travel experience,” he said he added.
In his remark, David Pekoske, TSA administrator said: “The expansion of biometrics and facial recognition throughout the airport environment represents the next generation of security identification technology. TSA is committed to working with great partners like Delta, ATL and CBP on developing and deploying new capabilities like these.”
The expansion of the facial recognition option with Delta Biometrics is a natural next step following CBP and Delta’s optional facial recognition boarding tests at ATL, Detroit Metropolitan Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport over the past several years.