JFK International airport began using new automated passport machines on Monday, according to NBC News. The new machines are intended to increase the speed of arrival of U.S. passengers from international flights.
JFK is both the latest, as well as the largest, airport to get the new automated system. There are also similar machines already being used at O'Hare International Airport Terminal 5 in Chicago, as well as two airports in Canada, Vancouver and Montreal. These machines are cutting down the time passengers arriving have to wait at customs. Previously, international passengers have had to withstand lines of up to five hours or be held back on the plane.
"We're going to have a couple hundred people - 100 today, 200 tomorrow - test the system," Leslie Scott, the spokeswoman of Delta, told NBC News. "If all goes well, we'll go fully live on Wednesday."
JFK Airport is the busiest entry point into the U.S. for international travelers. There are 40 automated passports kiosks that Delta purchased to use in Terminal 4, where it is the largest tenant among more than 30 airlines. Only U.S. citizens will be able to use the new machines initially, but Canadian citizens will also be able to use the machines soon as well.
Delta wants the Custom and Border Protection agency to increase the staffing and improve the scheduling to accommodate the peak arrival times.
"But we don't know how long that will take," Scott said. "This is something proactive we can do now as an investment in the customer experience.
"Because if a passenger has enjoyed the in-flight meals, the lie-flat bed and other aspects of an international flight having to stand on line for hours on arrival really ruins the experience," Scott continued.
The machines have reduced the amount of time that passengers have to wait. Several other airports will also soon roll out the automated passport machines.
This article is copyrighted by Travelers Today, the travel news leader