Delta pilot turns fingerprints into boarding passes

Think having your airline boarding pass on your smartphone is convenient? Delta is about to do one better.

The airline announced that some customers can now use their fingerprint instead of a boarding pass to get on its planes at Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) in Arlington, Va.

Delta first started piloting biometric authentication in May, allowing eligible Delta SkyMiles Members to use their fingerprint as proof of identity at the DCA Delta Sky Club. Now, that same convenience is available as part of the boarding process, so customers can "forego a paper or mobile boarding pass in favor of using fingerprints as proof of identity" to board their plane, the company said.

This new option is only available for Delta SkyMiles Members who are enrolled in CLEAR, a biometric identity verification platform that lets you "speed through security lines in 5 minutes or less." This summer, Delta plans to launch the final phase of its biometrics test, allowing members to use their fingerprints to check a bag.

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"Being part of the initial tests means that eligible customers will be able to traverse DCA as they do today and simply use their fingerprint instead of pulling out their boarding pass," Delta wrote in a news release. Participation in the pilot is completely optional.

If all goes well with this pilot, Delta may in the future offer this option more broadly.

"Once we complete testing, customers throughout our domestic network could start seeing this capability in a matter of months – not years," Delta's Senior Executive Vice President & COO Gil West said in a statement. "Delta really is delivering the future now."

West said that consumer and employee feedback on the pilot has been "extremely encouraging" so far.

"It's a win-win program," he added. "Biometric verification has a higher level of accuracy than paper boarding passes and gives agents more time to assist customers with seat changes and other skilled tasks instead of having to scan individual tickets – and customers have less to keep track of as they travel through the airport."

Meanwhile, those traveling through Incheon International Airport in South Korea may encounter some new technology as well: robots. LG last week deployed a number of robots at the airport, which will roam around providing information and assistance to travelers. The new Airport Guide Robots can understand Korean, English, Chinese, and Japanese, and connect to the airport's central server to provide information about boarding times, the locations of restaurants and shops, and more.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.