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Delta has announced that they will be introducing a Biometrics trial at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). The new biometric boarding pass will eventually let passengers use their fingerprint to gain access to the Delta Sky Club, check a bag and board a flight. It is hoped that eventually biometrics will consign paper and mobile boarding passes to aviation history.
The Biometric Trial
The new trial is open to Delta passengers who are already enrolled in the CLEAR system. The trial has two phases, with the first phase already underway. Phase 1 allows travelers to use their fingerprint at the Delta Sky Club. Phase 2 of the trial will allow passengers to use their fingerprint to check in at the Delta Sky Club, check their bags, and even board their flights.
The aim of the pilot project is to test how well the Delta and CLEAR systems work together. If everything goes according to plan, passengers who are enrolled in the CLEAR program will be able to breeze through Washington Airport without the need to pull out a regular boarding pass and identification, which should offer a smooth customer experience. According to Delta COO Gil West, “We’re rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you’ll need for any number of transactions throughout a given day.”
How the System Works
In partnership with CLEAR, the system will capture travelers’ biometric data and SkyMiles information at various points in the airport experience.
- Phase 1: you can enter the Delta Sky Club using one of three scanners
- Phase 2: the Biometric Passenger ID will be expanded to ticket counters for bag drops, at individual gates for boarding, and at Sky Club desks for entry.
Eventually, the aim is to allow the CLEAR biometric boarding pass holders to move through the airport only using their fingerprint.
The next few years should see some dramatic changes to the way we travel, recently KLM announced a biometric trial for boarding, the Australian government is introducing a biometric process for clearing immigration, and even the US is to implement a facial recognition trial for passengers leaving the US. With advances in technology and a desire to speed up the whole airport experience and enhance security, we can see a time when you do not need to show any documentation to pass through an airport!
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