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), unveiled the first biometric terminal in the United States at Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal (Terminal F) in Atlanta, announced earlier this fall. For more information see the IDTechEx report on Smart City Opportunities: Infrastructure, Systems, Materials 2019-2029.
This means that customers flying direct to an international destination on Delta, Aeromexico, Air France, KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways can use facial recognition technology from curb to gate, including to:
- Check in at the self-service kiosks in the International lobby
- Drop checked baggage at the counters in the International lobby
- Serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint
- 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 - nearly all 25,000 customers who travel through ATL Terminal F each week are choosing this optional process, with less than 2 percent opting out. And, 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.
"Delta's successful launch of the first biometric terminal in the U.S. at the world's busiest airport means we are designing the airport biometric experience blueprint for the industry," said Gil West, Delta's COO. "We're removing the need for a customer checking a bag to present their passport up to four times per departure - which means we're giving customers the option of moving through the airport with one less thing to worry about, while empowering our employees with more time for meaningful interactions with customers."
West added that Delta plans to scale the end-to-end airport 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 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 (DTW) by mid-December. With this move, any customer flying direct to an international destination from DTW will also have the option of using facial recognition technology at boarding. In 2019, Delta will roll out facial recognition technology at DTW from curb to gate for its customers.
"It is a great honor for Detroit Metropolitan Airport to become one of the nation's first biometric terminals," said Chad Newton, Wayne County Airport Authority Interim CEO. "As a world-class airport, we are continuously seeking ways to enhance the customer travel experience. We look forward to partnering with Delta, CBP and TSA to provide passengers with the option to utilize facial recognition throughout their entire travel process."
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, 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.
Over the past several years, Delta has led the industry on a number of customer solutions like RFID baggage handling, automatic check-in and bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app, a cross-industry alliance that will empower customers with a seamless in-cabin connectivity experience, more efficient and high-tech automated screening lanes, and a groundbreaking app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. Delta was named one of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies Worldwide in 2018, earning the No. 6 spot among travel companies.
ATL F — How the curb-to-gate facial recognition technology works:
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. Forgot to enter passport information in advance? Don't worry — this option will be available at the terminal after an initial passport scan and verification.
- 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.
- Breeze through once the green check mark flashes on the screen.
If customers do not want to participate, they just proceed normally, as they've always done, through the airport.
Source and top image: Delta Airlines