In the latest efforts to test biometric identifiers for airline passengers, the Transportation Security Administration this week started using fingerprint scanners to verify identities at the Atlanta and Denver airports, and Delta said it will work with Customs and Border Protection on a test of facial recognition technology at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson and New York JFK.
TSA said its tests will be conducted at one PreCheck lane at Atlanta and one at Denver. TSA already has electronic fingerprints of persons who joined PreCheck, and it will match those records with a fingerprint scan taken at the checkpoint to verify identity. The technology also precludes the need for a boarding pass.
“Once the technology finds a fingerprint match, it is able to obtain the passenger’s boarding pass information through Secure Flight,” TSA said. “Participation is voluntary and all passengers who choose to participate will then be subject to the standard ticket document checking process of showing their boarding pass and identification document.” The technology ultimately could automate the document checking process by eliminating the need for an ID check and a boarding pass, TSA noted.
Delta said its facial recognition testing with CBP will be used this summer for passengers departing on international flights. Passengers at the test gates will have an image of their face captured by a camera at the same time they self-scan their boarding pass. The technology will compare the individual’s identity as verified by the facial scan with itinerary information in Delta’s ticketing database.
“Upon successful screening at JFK, the eGate will open for individual customers to pass into the boarding area,” Delta said. “In Atlanta, a self-contained unit will capture and verify customer’s identity before the customer continues on to boarding. All customer data is securely managed by CBP.”
The JFK test started this week at Delta’s Gate B24, and will be deployed at Atlanta’s gates E10 and E12 later this summer.
JetBlue recently announced similar testing of facial recognition technology for its flights from Boston to Aruba starting this month, and Delta is testing fingerprint scans for entry to its Sky Club at Washington Reagan National for SkyMiles members who also participate in the CLEAR trusted traveler program.