American Airlines To Trial Digital ID In Washington & Dallas

American Airlines is to trial allowing passengers to use digital ID on their mobile devices when handing bags over to airport workers. The scheme will go live from today at the airline’s Dallas Fort Worth hub.

American Airlines, Mobile Identity Verification, Touchless Check In
American Airlines is to begin allowing passengers to prove their identity with a mobile device. Photo: Vincenzo Pace |

Across the globe, the current pandemic has changed the way that airlines do things. Many airlines have focused on making the airport experience touch-free. This could include using biometric security checks, as seen with Spirit Airlines. Meanwhile, Delta has partnered with the TSA to roll out anti-microbial security trays, one of the airport’s dirtiest parts, according to previous studies.

American Airlines launches mobile ID verification

As of today, US carrier American Airlines will allow passengers who are traveling from Dallas Fort Worth Airport (DFW) to verify their identity using their mobile device. This trial will see passengers not having to hand a physical form of ID to the agent accepting their checked bags.

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Instead, passengers can use a third-party app on their cell phones. This creates a digital ID token, confirming the person’s identity presenting the phone to the agent. Currently, the trial scheme will only be allowed at the Dallas Fort Worth bag drop.

American Airlines, Mobile Identity Verification, Touchless Check In
Check-in agents will now no longer need to handle a passenger’s ID at DFW. Photo: American Airlines

It will be available at Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) from October 27th. However, American Airlines is working with the TSA to see if such technology could be adopted more widely in the future. The mobile ID check reduces the need to hand a member of staff the relevant ID document, cutting COVID-19 transmission risk.

Touchless experience

As part of its Clean Commitment, oneworld member American Airlines is looking to implement a touchless experience from booking to printing bag tags. As with most airlines, American has, for a long time, offered customers the ability to book flights online. There’s nothing new there. However, passengers can now print bag tags from airport machines using their mobile devices through the American Airlines app.

For those with iPhones running the latest software, they don’t even need the American Airlines app. Instead, they can scan a QR code that runs a mini version of the American Airlines app dedicated to checking in. This will allow the passenger to create a digital boarding pass on their device without using a kiosk or going to the trouble of downloading the American Airlines app.

American Airlines, Mobile Identity Verification, Touchless Check In
American Airlines has been working to make the entire check-in process as touch-free as possible. Photo: American Airlines

With a growing emphasis on reducing unnecessary physical interactions given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it would not be a surprise if other airlines look to implement more touchless processes. With ever-advancing technology, tied with a will to get things done, technological leaps in the area could be nearer than previously thought.

 Would you use your mobile phone to verify your identity at an airport? Let us know what you think and why in the comments!