TSA Testing Fingerprint Scans to Get You Through the Airport
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Tired of fumbling with your phone at the airport security checkpoint? Forgot your ID at home? Well, in the not-so-distant future, you’ll be able to clear security with just your fingerprints.
Starting this week, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will be installing fingerprint readers to test a new concept: biometric identification and boarding passes.
The long-term idea is to “automate the travel document checking process by eliminating the need for a boarding pass and identity document,” similar to what JetBlue’s testing in partnership with US Customs and Border Protection. For passengers who are registered in the system, you’d no longer have to wait in line for a TSA agent to check your ID and boarding pass. Instead, you’d simply scan your fingerprints and the system would automatically check to verify that you have a flight from that airport that day.
According to the TSA’s press release, initial testing of this system will begin this week in both Atlanta (ATL) and Denver (DEN). TSA PreCheck members will be able to opt-in to scanning their fingerprints at these new machines:
However, instead of speeding up the process, passengers who opt-in during the testing period will actually have to take more time than before. Passengers will still “be subject to the standard ticket document checking process of showing their boarding pass and identification document.”
And, the new machines will only work if you’ve logged your fingerprints with the TSA as part of registering for a Trusted Traveler program such as Global Entry. If you’ve got TSA PreCheck but haven’t registered your fingerprints, the TSA still wants you to participate “since it provides valuable information to TSA during the proof of concept.” In seems that the agency needs to make sure that the system actually rejects passengers who don’t have a matching fingerprint.
Personally, I look forward to the eventual full rollout of this system. On a domestic trip in 2014, my wallet was stolen the day we were scheduled to fly home. It turns out that the TSA has a process for dealing with passengers without an ID, but it’s a lengthy and invasive one. It took my wife’s pleading with a JetBlue gate agent to keep me from missing our flight — which was the last flight of the night. With a fingerprint-based verification system, I’d have no trouble getting through without my identification.
If you manage to try out the TSA’s new system, please share your experience in the comments below.
Featured image courtesy of Getty Images.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,600
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 3X points on dining and 2x points on travel, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
- Enjoy benefits such as a $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining and 2x on all other travel purchases, plus more.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.