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Delta expands curb-to-gate biometric experience to domestic flights

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 11/19/2020 Benji Stawski
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Getting through the airport is becoming a whole lot easier. Delta passengers flying domestically out Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) will soon be able to use their face to get them from curb to gate, and onto the plane.

Delta has been experimenting with biometric identity verification for a while now. In 2018, it opened America’s first biometric terminal in Atlanta (ATL), offering passengers the option to use facial recognition for the entire airport journey from self-service check-in kiosks, bag drop, TSA checkpoints, Sky Club access and boarding. It later expanded its use of facial recognition cameras for boarding international flights out of airports like Los Angeles (LAX) and Salt Lake City (SLC). However, up until now, it hasn’t been available for domestic passengers.

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a sign on the side of a building: (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

Starting in December, domestic Delta passengers will be able to use their passport number and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership as a digital ID to move through the Detroit airport. Participation is voluntary and Delta doesn’t save any biometric data.

Related: Choosing the best credit cards for Delta flyers

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To participate, you’ll need to store your passport information and TSA PreCheck Known Traveler Number in your SkyMiles profile. Then, opt into the program at check-in using the Delta’s mobile app. At the airport, you’ll simply need look into the camera at bag drop, the dedicated security checkpoint and at the boarding gate instead of presenting your ID and boarding pass. If you want to use the biometric entrance at Sky Clubs, you’ll need a CLEAR membership.

American Airlines and JetBlue have also begun playing around with biometric technology. However, both only use it for select international flights and only for boarding. Delta will be first airline to provide domestic passengers this touchless airport experience.

Related: Your guide to biometric airline boarding in the US

graphical user interface: (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy (Photo by Darren Murph/The Points Guy)

“When it comes to pulling forward the future of Delta’s customer experience, we think big, start small and scale fast, letting innovation lead the way as we continuously listen to customer feedback,” Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the importance of providing a touchless experience for our customers. We plan to expand curb-to-gate facial recognition and digital ID beyond the Detroit test so that all of our customers can enjoy a seamless, touchless travel experience across our network.”

Related: Delta Air Lines extends seat-blocking through March 2021

If you don’t already have a TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership, you may be able to get one for free. Many credit cards now include a TSA PreCheck (or Global Entry) application fee credits, including the Chase Sapphire Reserve, The Platinum Card® from American Express and the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

Featured image by Darren Murph/The Points Guy.


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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.


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