Delta rolls out biometric boarding pass pilot at Arlington, VA airport

June 5, 2017 - 

Delta is testing its biometric boarding pass program at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia, which allows eligible Delta SkyMiles members to use their fingerprints as proof of identity instead of displaying their boarding pass and hard copy ID at the Delta Sky Club.

The move comes a couple weeks after Delta Air Lines announced it will introduce four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer, one of which will test facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos through identification verification.

During the DCA pilot, CLEAR will capture and use both biometric and SkyMiles information. Phase 1 is currently underway, allowing eligible members to scan their fingerprints using one of three scanners to gain access into the Delta Sky Club.

With Phase 2, Delta plans to expand passenger biometrics as identification to Delta’s ticket counter workstations for bag drops, Delta Sky Club desks for entrance verification, and at gates for boarding.

“We’re rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you’ll need for any number of transactions throughout a given day,” said Gil West, Delta COO. “We’re excited Delta’s partnership with CLEAR gives us an engine to pioneer this customer experience at the airport.

“This is one way Delta is working to give our agents more time to interact with customers while increasing the speed and accuracy of ID and boarding pass verifications. It’s a win for customers and employees, and will only get better as we move beyond the test phase.”

The pilot will test how Delta and CLEAR systems work together while providing the building blocks for Delta to deliver a more convenient customer experience broadly in the future.

Being part of the initial test phase means that eligible customers will be able to traverse DCA as they do today and simply use their fingerprint instead of pulling out their ID and boarding pass.

Delta will analyze the results from the DCA pilot to determine what further action to take in improving the process and implementing the technology on a broader scale.

During the pilot, Delta customers with a SkyMiles number and who are also enrolled in CLEAR are eligible for the biometric boarding pass program.

“CLEAR is thrilled to be partnered with Delta on this pilot program as they continue their strategy to create secure, frictionless experiences for consumers throughout the airport,” said Caryn Seidman-Becker, CLEAR CEO and co-founder.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.