Delta Air Lines Begins Biometrics Trials In Atlanta and New York Airports

Delta Air Lines Airbus A330-300 Enhanced

Delta Air Lines becomes the first US based airline to use biometrics screening for departing passengers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) and New York-JFK International Airport (JFK).

Delta Air Lines

First reported in May (News), the airline is working with different companies to test biometrics through third-party biometrics test solutions at two of its biggest hubs airports.

Location and Time

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

The Atlanta pilot will build on a year-long collaboration between Delta, NEC Corporation of America using NEC’s NeoFace Match software and the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The pilot will start at gates E10 and E12 with expansion into gates F6 and F9 later this summer. Entirely optional, passengers with an e-passports can use the advanced facial recognition technology at the gate to capture an image which would be verified for identity with Delta’s ticketing and the ePassport information. All data will be sent and verified by CBP as part of enhanced exit screening.

NEC Corporate of America Senior Vice President Raffie Beroukhim said, “Utilization of biometrics is perhaps the only means of balancing increased safety and security with passenger convenience. As a leading provider of such technologies, NEC is proud of the partnership with Delta and CBP in Atlanta, the progress made to date, and further potential in improving both safety and passenger convenience.”

New York JFK International Airport

Beginning on June 12, 2017, passengers using gate B24 at JFK will experience Delta’s eGate concept from Vision-Box. Similar to Atlanta, passengers will scan their paper or electronic boarding pass at the gate and use the biometric scanner to take a face snapshot prior to departing from United States. eGates doors will open when all the procedures are completed and identity is verified. The snapshot will be sent to US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) as part of exit screening.

“Vision-Box is excited to partner with Delta to provide an innovative self-boarding e-Gate system that combines airline boarding and biometric exit capture capabilities in a single process,” said Miguel Leitmann, Vision-Box CEO. “Passenger experience, high biometric accuracy and personal data protection are among the key metrics the pilot is addressing in order to establish a foundation to scale up to other airports.”

Delta Air Lines Vision-Box Biometric System at New York JFK International Airport

Delta Air Lines Vision-Box Biometric System at New York JFK International Airport . Source: Delta Air Lines


As part of its seamless travel initiatives, Delta is using these trials to test various biometric technologies that could be introduced systemwide. Here are some of the benefits:

  • CBP and Delta can verify and match passengers’ identity at different stages of the travel process. This could speed up boarding process.
  • In combination with the passport, biometrics (e.g. facial recognition, iris scans and fingerprint scans) can build a unique passenger profile which would be more difficult to duplicate and improve the security of passengers’ identities
  • Facial recognition, iris scanner and fingerprint scanner technologies are no longer cost to implement and can be added in new airports or as a retrofit to existing infrastructures

“Delta is always willing to partner with the CBP as it continues testing new technologies to improve its processes,” said Gil West, Delta’s Chief Operating Officer. “Its spirit of innovation aligns with Delta’s as we continue pioneering our own biometric customer experience solutions to enhance the airport travel experience for customers while giving employees the ability to focus on higher-touch customer needs.”

Other Technology Developments

When it comes to seamless travel initiatives, Delta is in different stages of testing, implementing or running new technologies to further improve passenger experience. Here is a list the airline is working on:

Check In – Biometric boarding pass at Washington Reagan International Airport (DCA) [testing]

Check In – Facial recognition biometrics at self-service bag drop for international departing passengers at Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP)

Baggage Management – Using Radio Frequency Identification RFID and the Fly Delta mobile application, passengers are able to track where their checked baggages on their Delta operated flights similar to how packages can be tracked online. NBC Nightly News shared an inside look at the new technology which would reduce passenger anxiety when checking in their baggages.

Delta RFID push notifications

Notification from Fly Delta Mobile Application on Baggages Source: Delta Air Lines