November 8, 2021

Delta Digital ID expanding and making strides for a touch free airport experience

Rob Warren
Travel and Sports Guy
Photo By:The Point Guy

et’s talk about Delta’s Digital ID program.  It’s in use in a couple of airports, in Atlanta’s main hub of Hartsfield Jackson Airport and in Detroit’s Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.  In order to use this feature you must one, be flying on delta airlines of course, two have the Delta Airlines app, and finally you must be enrolled in Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler program as either a user of TSA Precheck or Global Entry which is for International travelers coming through customs, and Global Entry comes with TSA Precheck. 

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  As someone that travels often I’m always looking for ways to get through the airport faster.  Whether it’s using a service like TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry, or Clear, or by checking in for my flight through the airline app before arriving.  If there’s an advantage that will stop me from fumbling with documents at the gate and make things smoother I’m with it.

Let’s talk about Delta’s Digital ID program.  It’s in use in a couple of airports, in Atlanta’s main hub of Hartsfield Jackson Airport and in Detroit’s Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.  In order to use this feature you must one, be flying on delta airlines of course, two have the Delta Airlines app, and finally you must be enrolled in Homeland Security’s Trusted Traveler program as either a user of TSA Precheck or Global Entry which is for International travelers coming through customs, and Global Entry comes with TSA Precheck. 

Once users are actually set with a flight, and about to head to the airport to depart, this is what they must do before using the Digital ID program. They should store their passport information and TSA Check Known Travel Number securely in their SkyMiles profile in the Delta app. 

The traveler would then opt into the program once they are going through digital check in. Once at the airport the program enrollee would then look into a camera at the bag drop area, to verify their identity if they are checking a bag. 

They would do the same at the security checkpoint, without printing out a paper boarding pass or using their phone to scan a pass.  This also eliminates the need to show your passport to TSA.  Finally, before boarding the traveler would look into the camera at the gate to have their face scanned so they could enter the plane instead of scanning a boarding pass.

How does the technology work?  Once a customer reaches a camera area at the airport, their image is encrypted, stripped of biographic information and sent to Customs and Border Protection’s facial biometric matching service via a secure channel  Customs then verifies a customer’s identity against the CBP image gallery and sends back an indicator to all the customer to continue.

The idea behind this is to create a touchless experience. If a customer doesn’t want this option because they are fearful of the government storing their info, they can opt out at the check-in period.  Having to look for email with a confirmation number and fumble looking for your ID or ticket information is something that slows down customers at airports across the country. 

I have TSA Precheck which lets me speed through the security line faster, but even with pre-check going through pockets looking for my passport, or driver’s license can really slow you down. This appears to be a great innovation by TSA Precheck and Delta Airlines, hopefully more airlines buy into this tech and adopt it themselves.

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