Leave your ID: Facial recognition coming to this US airport

From checking in to boarding flight, travelers can do it all without showing ID

Some travelers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport will soon be able to check in to their flights while leaving their IDs or passports tucked safely in their suitcases.

Yes, folks, it seems as though we've arrived to the future.

The Atlanta airport, along with Delta Air Lines, the Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will launch the United State’s first biometric terminal — Terminal F to be exact — later this year.

What does that mean? Flyers will be able to use facial recognition to:

  • Check in at self-service kiosks in the lobby.
  • Drop off checked baggage.
  • Serve as identification at the TSA checkpoint.
  • Board a flight at any gate in Terminal F.
  • Go through CBP processing for international travelers arriving in the U.S.

“Customers have an expectation that experiences along their journey are easy and happen seamlessly. That’s what we’re aiming for by launching this technology across airport touch points,” Delta chief operating officer Gil West said.

Delta officials said initial testing showed that facial recognition not only saves up to nine minutes per flight, but it also provides employees more opportunities to have meaningful interactions with customers.

And while the technology is optional for flyers to use, it will surely be worth at least trying.

Here’s how it will work:

  • During online check-in, travelers flying directly to an international destination from Atlanta’s Terminal F will enter their passport information.
  • After arriving to the airport, they will click “Look” on the screen at the kiosk in the lobby, or approach the camera at the counter in the lobby, the TSA checkpoint or when boarding at the gate.
  • Once the green check mark flashes on the screen, the traveler can proceed.

It should be noted that travelers will still need to have their passports with them when traveling internationally.

Anyone who does not wish to utilize the facial recognition can proceed normally, as they’ve always done.

Not much of a Delta traveler? Customers traveling through Terminal F via Aeromexico, Air France-KLM or Virgin Atlantic Airways will be eligible to use the technology as well.