Delta Airlines will deploy facial recognition technology to replace passports and tickets at Atlanta Airport in a move which could speed up travel for passengers.
The biometric identification system will be phased in on October 15 at check-in kiosks, baggage-drop counters and security checkpoints for international flights in Terminal F of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Delta announced.
The airline’s Chief Operating Officer Gil West said the biometrics will be rolled out to other domestic and international airport terminals if customers take to the technology at the world’s busiest airport and it helps to reduce boarding times.
The service is optional for now and to use it, customers will enter their passport information during online check-in.
Then at each transition point at the airport, passengers will approach the kiosks with cameras to scan their faces and wait for a green check mark before proceeding to the next spot.
Passengers flying with Delta partners Aeromexico, Air France KLM, and Virgin Atlantic Airways are also eligible to use the service, the US carrier said.
Airlines and security agencies are experimenting with fingerprint scans and facial-recognition technology to streamline the traveling experience for passengers.
According to Delta, facial recognition can save up to nine minutes of time during boarding.
Mr West added: ‘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 traveling around the globe.
‘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’.
Delta said the biometric updates will fully roll out to the terminal ‘later this year,’ though it added that the process will be ‘optional.’
‘If customers do not want to participate, they just proceed normally, as they’ve always done, through the airport,’ Delta said in a statement.
Upon rollout, the biometric option will be available only for passengers checking in at Atlanta for nonstop flights to an international destination.
In June, the Transportation Security Administration started using fingerprint scans at the Denver and Atlanta airports to identify passengers and their flying itineraries in lieu of official identification papers and boarding passes.
However privacy advocates worry that the face-as-security key may one day be the norm and not just when taking to the skies.