Delta Introduces Biometric Boarding Pass at Reagan Washington National Airport

May 31, 2017

Imagine going from checking bags, into the Delta Sky Club and on to the aircraft without ever producing a boarding pass or printed ID. Soon, Delta SkyMiles Members enrolled in CLEAR traversing Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) will find out exactly what that’s like.

Delta’s biometric boarding pass experience is being tested at DCA, with Phase 1 already underway, allowing eligible Delta SkyMiles Members to forego a paper or mobile boarding pass and hard copy ID in favor of using fingerprints as proof of identity at the Delta Sky Club. Phase 2 would allow Members to use their fingerprints to check a bag, check in at the Delta Sky Club and board a flight.

“We’re rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you’ll need for any number of transactions throughout a given day,” said Gil West, Delta COO. “We’re excited Delta’s partnership with CLEAR gives us an engine to pioneer this customer experience at the airport.”

The DCA pilot will test how Delta and CLEAR systems work together while laying the foundation for Delta to deliver a more convenient customer experience broadly in the future. Being part of the initial test phase means that eligible customers will be able to traverse DCA as they do today and simply use their fingerprint instead of pulling out their ID and boarding pass.

Over the past year, Delta has led the industry on a number of innovative customer solutions like biometric-based self-service bag drop, RFID baggage handling, real-time bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app, more efficient and high tech automated screening lanes and a groundbreaking app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. Delta’s partnership with CLEAR already gives exclusive rates to U.S.-based SkyMiles Members for a faster way through security lines at more than 20 airports nationwide, including DCA.

Findings from the DCA test will be analyzed to determine next steps for improving the process and broader implementation.

How it works

During the pilot, Delta customers with a SkyMiles number and who are also enrolled in CLEAR are eligible for the biometric boarding pass experience. CLEAR will capture and use both biometric and SkyMiles information to identify customers at bag drop, Delta Sky Club entry and boarding.

Phase 1: Eligible Members can now use their fingerprints to enter the Delta Sky Club only, using one of three scanners.

Phase 2: Delta plans to expand passenger biometrics as ID to Delta’s ticket counter work stations for bag drops, Delta Sky Club desks for entrance verification, and at gates for boarding. With biometric boarding pass technology powered by CLEAR at all of these touch points, eligible Members would be able to traverse DCA using only their fingerprints.

“This is one way Delta is working to give our agents more time to interact with customers while increasing the speed and accuracy of ID and boarding pass verifications,” West said. “It’s a win for customers and employees, and will only get better as we move beyond the test phase.”

Caryn Seidman-Becker, CLEAR CEO and co-founder added, “CLEAR is thrilled to be partnered with Delta on this pilot program as they continue their strategy to create secure, frictionless experiences for consumers throughout the airport.”