Travel insights from Travel Weekly

Hertz Doing Biometric Screening

Hertz plans to offer fast check-out lanes powered by biometrics at more than 40 airports by the end of next year.

The first Hertz Fast Lane is now operating at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta in partnership with Clear, the biometric-identity technology company that is best known for its private lanes at TSA checkpoints.

"We at Hertz stand for speed, service and innovation," Hertz chief marketing Jodi Allen said in an interview. "This is just a logical extension to the speed benefit we have been working on for many years."

The service will complement Hertz's Carfirmation program, which allows Gold Plus Rewards members to go directly to their cars at select airports without stopping at a rental counter. Hertz Fast Lane will be available exclusively to Hertz loyalty program members.

To participate, those members must register their driver's license and biometric identity via photo, iris scan and fingerprint with Clear and then cross link the two accounts. Clear kiosks will be stationed at all participating Hertz rental centers to facilitate sign-up.

Use of the Fast Lane is simple. Hertz customers pull up to an exit gate, roll down their window, and look into a biometric camera. Once a driver's identity is confirmed, the customer can drive off with the car, having never spoken to an agent.

"You literally look in the camera and it immediately connects your face to your driver's license and then you're out the gate," Allen said.

The biometric machines are also equipped with fingerprint scanners as a backup for situations in which the facial technology doesn't confirm a customer's identity.

Allen said that the typical exit time for a Hertz Fast Lane customer is 30 seconds, down from an average of two minutes for manual exit.

Los Angeles, New York Kennedy and San Francisco will be among the mostly major airports at which Hertz will introduce biometric fast lanes in 2019, Allen said.

The service will be the first usage of biometrics by a major rental car company, Hertz said. It also is a major diversification for Clear, which has thus far focused on providing quick, biometric-enabled identity confirmation at TSA checkpoints, Delta Sky Clubs and sporting venues.

More broadly, Tuesday's announcement marks another expansion of biometric technology deployment in the airport space. Airlines, airports and government agencies around the world have begun using or testing biometrics at everywhere from bag drops and boarding gates to check-in kiosks and airport customs stations.

This month, for example, Delta began offering the U.S.'s first end-to-end biometric airport journey at Atlanta airport's international Terminal F. There, customers can submit to a biometric identity verification through facial recognition at the check-in kiosk, then go hands-free all the way to the plane.

Membership to the Hertz Gold Plus Rewards program is free. Clear sign-up for the Hertz Fast Lane program is also free. Those who wish to use Clear's private lanes at TSA checkpoints must pay an annual membership of $179, though the company offers discounts to Delta Sky Miles members.

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