Photo by John Paul Van Wert/Rank Studios 2018 for Delta Air Lines

First Biometric Airport Terminal Now Operational at Atlanta

Delta Air Lines, in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), has unveiled the first biometric terminal in the United States at Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal (Terminal F) in Atlanta.

Customers flying direct to an international destination on Delta, Aeromexico, Air France, KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways can now choose to use facial recognition technology from curb to gate.

Customers flying direct to an international destination from Atlanta’s Terminal F wanting to use this option enter their passport information when prompted during online check-in. Then, they click “Look” on the screen at the kiosk in the lobby, or approach the camera at the counter in the lobby, the TSA checkpoint or when boarding at the gate. Finally, they pass through once the green check mark flashes on the screen.

If passengers have forgotten to enter passport information online in advance, this option will be available at the terminal after an initial passport scan and verification. Those who do not want to participate, can proceed normally through the airport.

The new biometric terminals serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint and allow passengers to check in at the self-service kiosks in the International lobby, drop checked baggage at the counters in the International lobby, board a flight at any gate in Terminal F, and go through CBP processing for international travelers arriving into the U.S.

Touch points throughout the terminal in Atlanta started coming online in mid-October and nearly all 25,000 customers who travel through the airport’s Terminal F each week are choosing this optional process, with less than two percent opting out. Based on initial data, the facial recognition option is saving an average of two seconds for each customer at boarding, or nine minutes when boarding a wide body aircraft.

Gil West, Delta’s COO said the new system removes the need for a customer checking a bag to present their passport up to four times per departure, and added that Delta plans to scale the end-to-end biometric terminal experience to the global airline’s hub in Detroit in 2019.

On the heels of the successful roll out in Atlanta, Delta, in partnership with CBP and the Wayne County Airport Authority will also expand the facial recognition boarding test that started in July, which was the first of its kind for the airport, to all 14 international gates at McNamara Terminal in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport by mid-December. With this move, any customer flying direct to an international destination from Detroit will also have the option of using facial recognition technology at boarding. In 2019, Delta will roll out facial recognition technology at Detroit Metropolitan from curb to gate for its customers.

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 Atlanta, DTW and John F. Kennedy International Airport over the past several years. In addition, Delta recently tested a self-service biometric bag drop at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport for international customers. Delta has also tested biometric boarding at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and has launched optional biometric check-in for all domestic Delta Sky Clubs, facilitated by Delta Biometrics.

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