ND030 – Delta Air Lines lets travelers use fingerprints as boarding pass
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Delta Air Lines lets travelers use fingerprints as boarding pass

Travelers can now use fingerprints as a boarding pass to board any Delta aircraft at Reagan Washington National Airport. If proven successful, the experience could be implemented at other airports within the network.

Delta Air Lines pilots test at Reagan Washington National Airport

Delta’s biometric boarding pass experience that launched in May is now integrated into the boarding process for members of SkyMiles; a Delta’s loyalty program. Instead of paper or mobile boarding pass, members have a more efficient option to use fingerprints as proof of identity to go aboard a plane. In the near future, it also will be possible to use fingerprints to check a bag.

“Once we complete testing, customers throughout our domestic network could start seeing this capability in a matter of months – not years. Delta Air Lines really is delivering the future now,” said Gil West, Delta’s Senior Executive Vice President. SkyMiles members who want to use the new option, also need to be enrolled in CLEAR, an expedited security program.

CLEAR will capture and use both biometric and SkyMiles information to identify customers at bag drop, Delta Sky Club entry, and boarding. "Customer and employee feedback has been extremely encouraging throughout our Delta Sky Club test, and we expect that enthusiasm to continue with the boarding experience," West continued.

"It's a win-win program. Biometric verification has a higher level of accuracy than paper boarding passes and gives agents more time to assist customers with seat changes and other skilled tasks instead of having to scan individual tickets – and customers have less to keep track of as they travel through the airport."

Over the past year, Delta has introduced a number of innovative solutions in a bid to attract more travelers like biometric-based self-service bag drop, RFID baggage handling and real-time bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app.

However, this option has its own risks. Computers storing this biometric information could be hacked. Unlike a password which can be changed in the case of theft, a fingerprint is indelible. Therefore, findings from the new test at Reagan Washington National Airport will be analyzed to determine next steps for improving the process and broader implementation.

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