Curb-to-gate biometric facial recognition at Delta Air Lines’ Terminal F at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) became fully operational Nov. 29.

Following the rollout at ATL, the Atlanta-based carrier also announced it will expand end-to-end biometric facial recognition to its hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in 2019. By mid-December 2018, Delta said it will expand its facial recognition boarding testing at DTW—which began in July—to all 14 international gates at DTW’s McNamara Terminal.

Delta and ATL developed the facial biometrics installation at Atlanta’s Terminal F in partnership with US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The airline has been involved in biometrics testing at several US airports for several years, including New York JFK, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Washington Reagan National.

JetBlue has also been testing the technology at Boston Logan International Airport.

Delta began rolling out biometric touch points throughout the terminal in mid-October and soon found that nearly all 25,000 weekly passengers through Terminal F chose to use the optional process, with under 2% opting out. Delta said initial data indicated “the facial recognition option is saving an average of two seconds for each customer at boarding, or nine minutes when boarding a widebody aircraft.”

The biometric facial recognition process, Delta said, allows customers flying direct to an international destination on Delta, Aeromexico, Air France, KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways to use facial recognition to check in at self-service kiosks, drop checked baggage at counters in the international lobby, serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint and board a flight at any gate in Terminal F.

Facial recognition will also be in use for international travelers arriving in the US as they progress through CBP processing.

“Delta’s launch of the first biometric terminal in the US at the world’s busiest airport means we are designing the airport biometric experience for the industry,” Delta COO Gil West said. “We’re removing the need for a customer checking a bag to present their passport up to four times per departure … giving customers the option of moving through the airport with one less thing to worry about, while empowering our employees with more time for meaningful interactions with our customers.”

The mid-December biometric facial recognition rollout in Detroit will give any customer flying direct to an international destination from DTW the option of using facial recognition technology at boarding. Delta said it plans to roll out facial recognition biometrics at DTW from curb to gate in 2019.

Mark Nensel mark.nensel@informa.com