My experience with Delta’s new facial recognition boarding process

When I was flying from Atlanta to the Cayman Islands last month, I was in for a surprise – there was a sign at the gate saying that I’d be boarding using Delta’s new biometric boarding process.

Prior to seeing the sign, I actually had no idea that this was even a thing (and, in fact, already had a boarding pass ready to go on my phone). Before boarding began, the gate agent made an announcement telling passengers how it would work – basically that instead of handing over a ticket to board, we’d need to stand in front of a machine that would scan our faces, recognize us, and print out our ticket.

I think the process actually took a little longer than actually handing over tickets, but it may have been because there were a few families in front of me with small children that the parents needed to lift off the ground so that they were high enough to have their faces scanned. When it was my turn to go, it took about 2-3 seconds for my face to be scanned and for the boarding pass to be issued, which was pretty cool.

As cool as it was to try out biometric boarding, it definitely made me uncomfortable that Delta had enough information that it could recognize my face without me ever consenting to it. That said, like most Americans, I’m usually ready to trade a bit of privacy for convenience.

Have you tried Delta’s biometric boarding yet? What were your thoughts?

Delta uses in-flight magazine to complain about Gulf carriers

On a recent Delta flight, I was surprised when I opened up the Delta Sky magazine which was attacking the Gulf carriers (Emirates, Qatar, and Ethiad). The note from Delta read as follows:

The nations of Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are attempting to take over international aviation by funneling billions of dollars in subsidies into their state-owned airlines. U.S. airlines have already ceased flying to certain international destinations because they can’t compete with the unreasonably low prices of the gulf airlines. And for every route lost, 1,500 Americans lose their jobs. Left unaddressed, the U.S. aviation industry is at risk.

Open & Fair Skies agreements exist to prevent this, but they are not being enforced. Join the fight to protect fair trade and American jobs.

I think Delta is being a whiny drama queen here. Delta itself has accepted billions of dollars in government subsidies, which it was not complaining about when it was on the winning side.

Delta is also avoiding the elephant in the room here which is, compared to the Gulf carriers, its qualify of service sucks. In the latest ranking of worldwide airlines, Delta ranked #32, whereas Emirates was #4, Qatar was #1, and Ethiad was #7.

Sure, you may argue that Delta could have better service without these subsidies, but let’s look how Delta ranks significantly below dozens of other international airlines that don’t receive these kind of cash infusions, including EVA Air (#6), Thai Airlines (#11), Turkish Airlines (#11), Virgin Australia (#13), and even Norwegian (#28).

Rather than lodging a campaign against 3 airlines, Delta should work hard to take the market share from airlines without cash infusions that currently offer a much better in-flight experience.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Los Angeles Trip Deal: $196 direct, round-trip from LAX to Mexico City, Mexico on United, Delta

Delta and United Airlines are putting direct flights from Los Angeles to Mexico City, Mexico on sale! Flights start at $196 round-trip, after taxes with very good availability from January through May 2018.

Volaris also has some availability for those dates, with flights as low as $191 round-trip, after taxes.

To find this deal, use Google Flights and search for flights between LAX and MEX.

Delta Air Lines ending service to Guam

Citing low demand, Delta Air Lines has announced that it is ending service to Guam, effective January 8, 2018.

Interestingly, despite ending direct flights between Japan and Guam, Delta will maintain service to Saipan and Palau.

This move makes sense for Delta. United (previously Continental Micronesia) has long been the preferred airline on Guam, being the only major American airline with a hub on the island. During my time on Guam, United regularly offered special packaged deals and had some amazing routes, including direct flights to Fiji and Cairns, Australia (both those routes have since, unfortunately, ceased operating).

So, the competition was pretty stiff for Delta against a strong United hub. Nevertheless, United’s service to Guam has been criticized by island residents, and without competition from Delta, my guess is that Guam residents can expect to receive the same level of treatment from United.