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Delta Air Lines expanding its facial recognition technology in Atlanta

The facial recognition equipment will first be in Atlanta's South Security Checkpoint in the next few weeks.

ATLANTA — Delta Air Lines announced Thursday it's expanding its digital identity experience in Atlanta.

According to Delta's website, its digital identity experience was first unveiled in Detroit at its security checkpoints in early 2021.

The digital identity experience will now be expanded to Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in a partnership with TSA PreCheck. Facial recognition offers travelers a "more efficient way to navigate the airport – without showing a paper boarding pass or a physical government ID," Delta wrote.

With one look at a camera, travelers who qualify can opt-in, check their bag and pass through TSA's PreCheck security line, and then board their plane. 

Delta said a traveler's digital identity is made up of their passport number and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Travel Number. A traveler's digital identity is also verified by facial recognition technology, which recognizes and confirms a traveler's identity at airport checkpoints. 

The facial recognition equipment will first be in Atlanta's South Security Checkpoint in the next few weeks and it will expand to select bag drop and boarding areas before the end of the year, Delta wrote.

According to Delta, this will help to ensure a more expedited and touchless travel experience in the airport. 

"The exclusive expansion of digital identity moves Delta one step closer to achieving our vision of creating a more personalized and fully connected travel journey," Byron Merritt, Delta’s Vice President of Brand Experience Design said. "Our goal in turning pivotal moments like security and check-in into seamless experiences is to give time and focus back to the moments customers enjoy. Innovations like digital identity are implemented with the intention to transform the cohesive travel experience into a journey that our customers can truly look forward to."

Delta currently has an existing facial recognition option for international travel in Atlanta. It also launched its first biometric terminal in Atlanta in 2018. 

If a traveler doesn't want to use facial recognition, they can decline during check-in and continue to go through the airport as normal.

"Participation is completely voluntary. Delta does not save or store any biometric data, nor does it plan to," Delta wrote.

For those that would like to participate. Here's how it works: 

  • Store your passport information and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number securely in your SkyMiles profile in the Fly Delta app.
  • Opt into the program at check-in using the Fly Delta app.
  • At the airport, look into the camera at bag drop, the security checkpoint and the boarding gate to use your digital identity in place of a physical ID and boarding pass.

Delta said once a traveler reaches a camera at the airport, their image is encrypted and sent to U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) facial biometric matching service via a secure channel. CBP will then verify the customer's identity and sends back an indicator allowing the traveler to go through the security checkpoint. 

Click here to learn more about Delta's facial recognition expansion. 

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