While it’s trying facial recognition automated baggage drops in Minneapolis, Delta Airlines has implemented another form of biometric identification at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. Ultimately, the airline plans to let passengers use their fingerprints in place of boarding passes to check in, check bags, and board their flights.
CLEAR is an existing service that speeds you past the security line for a fee. People in the pilot program have to be enrolled in CLEAR as well. Delta combines CLEAR’s data with your frequent flier information and boarding pass information, with the goal of letting passengers zip past checkpoints where they would normally need to show a boarding pass.
For now, a fingerprint only gives people who are part of the program access to the Sky Club lounge. To be eligible, customers need to be part of the Sky Miles program and also be enrolled in CLEAR.
The airline’s planned Phase 2 would let passengers use their fingerprints at any time that they would normally need to show a boarding pass, including when boarding the plane. JetBlue and British Airways are testing similar programs, but they use facial recognition, not fingerprints.
Phase 2 will happen if the Phase 1 test goes well. If you see people locked out of the Delta lounge on your next trip through DCA, you’ll be able to tell how those tests are going.