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Delta reaches out to consumers about airport biometrics, Amadeus and Daon discuss changing travel processes

Delta reaches out to consumers about airport biometrics, Amadeus and Daon discuss changing travel processes

As biometrics use in airports continues to increase rapidly, Delta has taken the step of addressing consumers with an article on ‘What you should know about biometrics and Delta.’

Delta emphasizes the importance of touchless technology in today’s airport environment, and notes that its customers can use facial recognition for flight boarding in Atlanta, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, New York JFK, Detroit, Los Angeles, Portland and Boston.

The airline goes on to make seven distinct points about the use of biometrics in aviation. Delta tells consumers that the use of biometrics is completely optional, and that the security and privacy of customer data is a top priority, noting that CBP discards U.S. citizen images within 12 hours. Biometrics in airports are not part of a surveillance program, Delta says, pointing out that the system should not be confused with the technology’s use “in a public space or in a situation in which the presentation of identity documents is not currently required.”

The near-99 percent accuracy of the system and what happens if it fails to make a match is explained, along with the federal requirements that are met by biometric identity verification. Delta explains how the process works, with images matched by CBP and “virtually no one denied boarding” based on non-matches. Delta finally asserts that it does not store any customer biometric data, or plan to in the future.

Biometrics and technology companies and aviation groups have proselytized for the adoption of biometrics for some time, but consumer-facing communications have so far been limited.

The combination of biometrics and wearables have gone from a ‘nice to have’ feature set to an imperative for post-COVID recovery with contactless processing, writes Amadeus VP of Corporate Strategy and Business Development Simon Akeroyd for Web in Travel.

Akeroyd argues that since the technology already exists to maintain a code on the screen of a wearable, or to push travel documents from an app or digital wallet to a wearable, airports and airlines could enable frictionless processing, including with biometrics, without either touching shared surfaces or even taking out a mobile device. Wearables can also enable personalized way-finding through ‘parallel reality,’ in which numerous passengers can share a digital display, and each see something different.

In-flight experiences can also be enhanced with the data gathered by wearables, Akeroyd writes, for instance with cabin crew alerted to a cold traveler needing a blanket without having to ask. Temperature data can also help identify passengers showing onset symptoms of viral infection. Wearables can also enable in-trip add-ons, with Akeroyd holding up Disney’s MagicBands as an example of the personalization and payment options available with wearables.

Daon EMEA and APAC President Clive Bourke tells Enterprise Ireland that using biometrics and related technologies allows airports to reconfigure layouts to handle check-in and bag drop processes in places with more space, and to mitigate crowding and choke points.

The next time most people take a flight, according to Bourke, they are likely to touch many fewer surfaces through biometric projects like the one Daon is carrying out with Denver International Airport.

Daon has found customers are accelerating shift towards touchless transactions and remote onboarding and authentication in a wide variety of sectors.

Bourke says the robust legal requirements of GDPR in Europe in particular has also helped to ease concerns around privacy, while also buoying these topics to the top of corporate agendas.

This post was updated at 11:42am on July 17, 2020. 

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