Delta Airlines Tests Facial Recognition, Self-Service Bag Drop


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Delta is hoping facial recognition technology can take some of the hassle out of flying.

Photo Courtesy: Delta Airlines

Atlanta-based Delta Airlines, which operates a major hub at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, today announced four self-service bag drop machines that are expected to be added in Detroit. The new technology, to be introduced at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this summer, represents a $600,000 investment that allows customers to quickly and securely check their own bags.

One machine will also be equipped to test facial recognition technology that matches customers with their passport photos for identification verification, a first for U.S. carriers.

The airline’s introduction of both technologies is the next step in its work to streamline airport processes and is complemented by Delta’s radio frequency identification technology. Previous self-service innovations like ticketing kiosks and check-in via the Fly Delta Mobile app have helped reduce lines in lobby areas and increase customer satisfaction scores.

“We expect this investment and new process to save customers time,” says Gareth Joyce, Delta's senior vice president for airport customer service and cargo. “And, since customers can operate the biometric-based bag drop machine independently, we see a future where Delta agents will be freed up to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service.”

Most recently, Delta is working with the TSA to implement the first automated screening lanes in the U.S. at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Delta will collect customer feedback during the trial and run process analyses to ensure that the equipment improves the overall customer experience. Studies have found that self-service bag drops have the potential to process twice as many customers per hour than standard 

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