Delta Air Lines testing fingerprint scanners at Reagan National

WASHINGTON — Airlines are starting to experiment in real-time with biometric identification methods, and Delta Air Lines has rolled out a two-phase biometric test at Reagan National Airport.

Phase 1 of its test is already underway, letting eligible Delta SkyMiles members to use fingerprints as proof of identity at the Delta Sky Club at DCA.

Delta’s Phase 2 test would allow frequent flier members to use their fingerprints to also check bags, check in at the Sky Club and board their flight.

“We are rapidly moving toward a day when your fingerprint, iris or face will become the only ID you will need for any number of transactions throughout a given day,” Delta COO Gil West said.

The DCA pilot test is in partnership with the “CLEAR” expedited airport security program, which requires SkyMiles members to be enrolled in the CLEAR program.

Other airlines are testing alternative biometrics verification programs.

JefBlue this week announced tests beginning next month on flights from Boston to Aruba using facial recognition at gate check-in.

In JetBlue’s pilot program, images are verified through the Customers and Boarder Protection database that will allow passengers to complete the boarding process without paper tickets or electronic tickets on their smartphones.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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