Delta Air Lines and the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have partnered to launch the first curb-to-gate facial recognition option using a digital ID for US domestic travellers.

The carrier is testing the new option at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, where participation is entirely voluntary.

Customers who wish to participate in the test will have to use their passport number and TSA PreCheck membership as digital ID.

This will be verified by facial recognition technology to confirm a traveller’s identity at airport touchpoints.

Starting next month, Delta customers moving through the Edward H McNamara Terminal’s dedicated TSA PreCheck domestic checkpoint can opt to use the digital ID.

In early 2021, this facial recognition option will be expanded to the bag drop and boarding area.

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Delta chief customer experience officer Bill Lentsch said: “When it comes to pulling forward the future of Delta’s customer experience, we think big, start small and scale fast, letting innovation lead the way as we continuously listen to customer feedback.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has only deepened the importance of providing a touchless experience for our customers.

“We plan to expand curb-to-gate facial recognition and digital ID beyond the Detroit test so that all of our customers can enjoy a seamless, touchless travel experience across our network.”

Delta has noted that biometric data will not be saved or stored.

The first biometric terminal was launched by Delta in the US in December 2018. Since then, Delta has expanded facial recognition capabilities to eight new markets.

Delta also tested facial recognition with the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for more than three years in Detroit, Atlanta and New York-JFK airports.

Earlier, Delta and TSA partnered to roll out antimicrobial bins in airport security checkpoints at select Delta hubs in Atlanta, Minneapolis / St Paul, Los Angeles, New York-LaGuardia and New York-JFK.