John Paul Van Wert/Rank Studios 2018/Courtesy of Delta
Stacey Leasca
November 29, 2018

Delta announced that Maynard H. Jackson International Terminal at the Atlanta airport is ready to become America’s first “biometric terminal.” This means travelers will be able to use facial recognition technology “from curb to gate.”

As Travel+Leisure previously reported, Delta has been working on the technology, which will help guests seamlessly move through airport security, for some time. The system will be implemented from check-in through boarding and will employ facial scanning machines at the self-service kiosks, baggage drop-off counters, TSA checkpoint, and all Terminal F boarding gates.

“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,” Gil West, Delta’s COO, said in a statement.

Related: Passengers Are Happier Interacting With Technology Than With People, Study Finds

According to USA Today, the new biometric option will be available to international passengers flying nonstop from Atlanta on Delta and its partner airlines Aeromexico, Air France-KLM or Virgin Atlantic.

John Paul Van Wert/Rank Studios 2018/Courtesy of Delta

The step-by-step process begins with passengers entering their passport information during online or airport check-in. Passengers can then click “look” at one of the airline’s automated kiosks. Their faces will be scanned and kept on file with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. And it appears almost all travelers are opting into the program.
“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,” Delta said. “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 also isn’t stopping at Atlanta. The airline shared it is also implementing the technology in Detroit in 2019.

“It is a great honor for Detroit Metropolitan Airport to become one of the nation’s first biometric terminals,” Chad Newton, the interim CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority, told USA Today. “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.”

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