Delta Enters Next Phase Of Testing Fingerprints As Boarding Passes

Image courtesy of Delta

Back in May, Delta announced that it would test allowing a subgroup of passengers to access its Sky Club lounge at Reagan National Airport using only a fingerprint. That test was apparently successful, and now the airline will begin allowing that same group of passengers to actually board the aircraft using their fingerprint instead of a boarding pass.

If you want to try the service, now it’s only available to passengers boarding flights at Reagan National Airport (DCA) who are members of Delta’s SkyMiles frequent flyer program and CLEAR, a third-party service that lets travelers zoom past security lines for $179 per year.

Being part of CLEAR puts your fingerprint on file, since that’s how the service authenticates you. Delta combines this information with your boarding pass data, and now a fingerprint sensor has been added at boarding,

The final phase will allow travelers to check their bags using a fingerprint in place of a boarding pass, possibly eliminating the need to bother with boarding passes at all for the subgroup of passengers eligible to use the program.

Coming soon to a finger near you?

After Delta sees that everything is working, you might see this service available at an airport near you sooner than you think.

“Once we complete testing, customers throughout our domestic network could start seeing this capability in a matter of months – not years. Delta really is delivering the future now,” Delta’s senior executive vice president and chief operating officer Gil West said in a statement, using what would perhaps be a more appropriate tagline for UPS or FedEx.

Other airlines are also experimenting with biometric boarding and checkin, though JetBlue and British Airways have their hopes pinned on facial recognition technology, not fingerprints.