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Delta’s Exclusive Partnership with TSA Streamlines Check-in, Security in Atlanta

Industry-leading option for Delta’s TSA PreCheck customers leverages facial recognition technology to streamline the airport experience from curb to gate.

Traveling through Atlanta soon? If you have a TSA PreCheck® membership and a Delta SkyMiles number, you may have the option to experience an expedited airport journey.

First unveiled in Detroit security checkpoints in early 2021, Delta’s digital identity experience is an industry first in exclusive partnership with TSA PreCheck. The experience is expanding to Atlanta, offering customers a more efficient way to navigate the airport – without showing a paper boarding pass or a physical government ID. With just one look at a camera, customers who qualify and opt in can easily and efficiently check a bag, pass through the TSA PreCheck security line and board their plane.

A customer’s digital identity is made up of their passport number and TSA PreCheck or Global Entry Known Traveler Number and verified by facial recognition technology, which confirms a traveler’s identity at airport touchpoints. Facial recognition equipment will first be visible in Atlanta’s South Security Checkpoint in the coming weeks and will expand to select bag drop and boarding areas before the end of the year. Delta aims to expand to additional hubs next year to ensure a seamless, touchless travel experience across our network.

“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,” said Byron Merritt, Delta’s Vice President of Brand Experience Design. “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.”

In both Atlanta and Detroit, domestic digital identity builds on Delta’s existing facial recognition option for international travel, which Delta began trialing more than five years ago and culminated with the launch of the first fully biometric terminal in Atlanta in 2018.

“TSA appreciates working with industry stakeholders to design, build and test innovative technologies that enhance security and improve the passenger experience,” said TSA Requirements and Capabilities Analysis Acting Assistant Administrator Keith Goll. “We continue to work ceaselessly to leverage the latest technology and partnerships to ensure that the traveling experience of our PreCheck passengers is as seamless, convenient and secure as possible.”

If a customer does not want to use facial recognition, they can simply decline to opt in at check-in and proceed through the airport as they always have. Participation is completely voluntary. Delta does not save or store any biometric data, nor does it plan to.

Participating customers can look forward to an easier and less stressful airport experience. Here’s how it will work:

  • 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.

Once a customer 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 with no accompanying biographic data. CBP then verifies a customer’s identity against government holdings and sends back an indicator to allow the customer to proceed.

Over the years, Delta has partnered with TSA to make the entire day of travel easier, including working with TSA to launch automated screening lanes and new screening technology in Atlanta and other hub airports.

Article courtesy of Metro Atlanta CEO.  Published October 11, 2021.