Biometrics are a growing trend across airports, with an increasing number installing facial recognition cameras, for example, to allow passengers to go straight through check-in and boarding gates without showing their passports or other documentation.
In March, US carrier Delta Air Lines announced it has installed fingerprint-reading technology at all 50 of its domestic Delta Sky Club locations, allowing members of its Sky Club scheme entry to its lounges without having to present their membership card or boarding pass.
Delta is the only US-based global airline to offer customers a secure biometric check-in across its domestic network.
The airline says: “The experience is made possible through Delta’s new biometrics programme – Delta Biometrics Powered by Clear – which is free for Delta Sky Club members who are US citizens or permanent residents, and has the potential of streamlining check-in for millions of club visits each year.”(Clear is a biometric identity platform that employs fingerprint and iris identification technology at airports and sports stadiums across the US.)
For those not already enrolled in Clear, passengers can sign up for free at dedicated kiosks in one of 14 Delta Sky Club locations across the country. A Clear representative will be available to help with registration and members will immediately be able to use Delta Biometrics to check in to Delta Sky Club lounges.
Gil West, Delta’s COO, said: “From unlocking our phones to entering the workplace, more and more people have the option to use biometrics as a form of identity verification for daily activities. Having that option is quickly becoming an expectation that we are working hard to meet through this programme.”
The question many people will be asking, though, is is it worth it? At a time when there are an increasing number of data breaches and cyber attacks, do we want companies to hold our biometric information as well, even if it is encrypted?
Having your fingerprint scanned versus simply showing your passport and boarding card at the lounge reception will hardly save any time. However, when combined with other innovations Delta has been experimenting with, such as biometric self-service bag drop and facial recognition boarding gates, it could be compelling, as moving through the airport becomes quicker and less stressful.