Delta Air to launch first biometric terminal in the U.S

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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 launching the first biometric terminal in the United States at Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal (Terminal F) in Atlanta.

Beginning late this year, 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.

This optional, end-to-end Delta Biometrics experience includes using facial recognition technology to: Check in at the self-service kiosks in the lobby; drop checked baggage at the counters in the lobby; serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint; board a flight at any gate in Terminal F; and go through CBP processing for international travellers arriving into the U.S.

Passengers travelling on partner airlines Aeromexico, Air France-KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways out of Terminal F are eligible to use this technology too.

“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 travelling around the globe,” said Gil West, Delta’s COO.

“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,” he added.

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.

“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,” said Balram Bheodari, interim general manager, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

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.

For those who forgot to enter passport information in advance need not worry as this option will be available at the terminal after an initial passport scan and verification.

Customers would only need to 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 and breeze through once the green check mark flashes on the screen.

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. And, if customers do not want to participate, they just proceed normally, as they’ve always done, through the airport.

“Delta and CBP have developed a strong partnership over the years, and share a common vision for enhancing security and the traveler experience,” said CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.

“Together with innovative partners like Delta, TSA and ATL, we are using technology to create a secure, efficient and simplified travel experience.”

Also at ATL Terminal F, customers can take advantage of industry-leading computed tomography (CT) scanners at two automated screening lanes, which are being installed in partnership with the TSA and the airport. This means travelers won’t have to take out electronics from their bags at the TSA checkpoint, further enabling a smooth travel experience.

“The expansion of biometrics and facial recognition throughout the airport environment represents the next generation of security identification technology,” said David Pekoske, TSA Administrator. “TSA is committed to working with great partners like Delta, ATL and CBP on developing and deploying new capabilities like these.”

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 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.

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