Points Panda has partnered with a variety of financial companies including CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Points Panda and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. For more information please read our full Advertiser Disclosure.
Delta and TSA Precheck impresses frequent flyers again as they roll out facial recognition options for domestic travelers to help speed up security lanes at the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Before, this option was only available for Delta flyers who were traveling internationally.
If you remember in November 2020, the two companies also installed a tomography-automated screening lane at the Atlanta airport which allowed flyers to keep their electronics and approved liquids in their carry-ons during security checks.
As the world of travel enters the post-pandemic era, expect more companies to focus on lessening touchpoints at airports and streamlining the traveler experience.
How Does The Digital Identity Experience Work?
Domestic travelers need three things to create their digital identity and these are a Delta SkyMiles number, TSA PreCheck membership, and passport information. Here’s how to do it:
- Log in to your Fly Delta app and input your TSA PreCheck number (or Global Entry number) on your SkyMiles profile.
- Select opt-in at the check-in counter using the Fly Delta app.
- Just look at the camera at every security checkpoint at the airport and the TSA PreCheck facial recognition machine will automatically verify your identity.
When travelers look into the camera, their biometric data is encrypted and sent to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for background checks and verification. Once approved, the machine would signal the traveler to proceed to the next touchpoints.
All data that are being transferred back and forth are encrypted so it’s safe and secure. No data is being stored or leaked out. Participation in the program is not mandatory. If travelers do not want to use the TSA facial recognition machines, they can simply opt-out at check-in and just proceed to the regular security checkpoints at the airport.
The TSA facial recognition machines will be installed first at the South Security Checkpoint of Atlanta Airport but they will soon be deployed to bag drops, boarding areas, and other touchpoints before 2021 ends.
This new technology will provide a seamless and streamlined airport experience for travelers. Additionally, it will also lessen touchpoints to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 since the U.S. government has lessened the restrictions on domestic travel for unvaccinated people.
Delta And TSA Precheck Plans To Expand Facial Recognition Tech To More Hubs in 2022
Before Atlanta, the Delta and TSA precheck facial recognition technology was first rolled out in Detroit airport’s security checkpoints early in 2021. It was an exclusive partnership between the two companies and the goal was to provide travelers a faster way to navigate through the different touchpoints at the airport.
Delta and TSA PreCheck currently have facial recognition systems installed for international travelers in both the Atlanta and Detroit airports, and this served as the foundation for its domestic counterpart. Now, the two companies plan to expand this program to more airport hubs in 2022, possibly in airports where they have existing facial recognition systems for international travelers – Salt Lake City and Minneapolis airports.
“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.”
Traditional security checks required physical boarding passes and government IDs. It takes airport agents a few seconds more to verify these documents and this causes delays and long lines at touchpoints. Delta stated that this technology reduces the average boarding time by 9 minutes less on a widebody aircraft.
Read more: Do I Need To Be Vaccinated To Take A Flight?
How To Get Free TSA Precheck Membership
You can pay for a TSA-PreCheck membership which costs $85 and is valid for 5 years. However, there are credit cards that come with a FREE TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership in the form of a statement credit. This means that you still need to pay for the application fee using your card and then get a reimbursement afterward.
Take note that having Global Entry membership will also give you TSA PreCheck benefits. Here are some cards that come with a FREE TSA PreCheck or Global Entry membership:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
- Chase Sapphire Reserve
- Delta Platinum Credit Card from American Express Card
- Delta Reserve Credit Card from American Express Card
- IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card
- Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Performance Business Credit Card
- United Club (SM) Infinite Card
- United Explorer Card
- United Quest Credit Card
TSA PreCheck is working closely with Delta to enhance all travelers’ airport experience. TSA Requirements and Capabilities Analysis Acting Assistant Administrator Keith Goll said, “TSA appreciates working with industry stakeholders to design, build and test innovative technologies that enhance security and improve the passenger experience.
More and more travelers are now itching to book flights as travel restrictions are being lifted. In the future, expect more biometric security checks as travel slowly comes back in this post-pandemic era.