Coming soon: First biometric bag check

Atlanta-headquartered Delta Air Lines is testing facial recognition technology and this summer plans to introduced the first biometric-based self-service bag drop in the United States.

Delta (NYSE:DAL) will introduce four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) that will allow “[C]ustomers to quickly, securely and easily check their own bags,” the airline said in a statement.

One of the four machines will be equipped to test facial recognition technology to match customers with their passport photos through identification verification, a first for U.S. carriers.

“We expect this investment and new process to save customers time,” Gareth Joyce, Delta’s SVP for airport customer service and cargo, said. “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.”

Previous self-service innovations like ticketing kiosks and check-in via the Fly Delta Mobile app have transformed congested lobby areas and drastically improved customer satisfaction scores, the carrier said.

The airline’s introduction of self-service bag drops and facial-recognition technology is the next step in its efforts to streamline airport processes. It compliments Delta's radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that allows passengers to track their bags through the Fly Delta Mobile app.

Other innovations include developing an app that helps pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight, launching the industry’s most interactive airport wayfinding maps on the Fly Delta mobile app and strategically enhancing its boarding process.

The airline will collect customer feedback during the trial and run process analyses to ensure that this lobby enhancement improves the overall customer experience. Studies have found that self-service bag drops have the potential to process twice as many customers per hour.

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