Waiting to check bags at best is frustrating, and at worst can make you miss your flight. If you ever thought you could do it by yourself, Delta may soon give you the chance to try it out. This summer, Delta will begin testing self-service bag drop machines, and one of the machines is being equipped with facial recognition technology.
There is scant information on how the machines could work, but it will involve a customer’s face being scanned to match it to the passport photo associated with the ticket to verify identity. A digital rendering of the machines shows an opening where the bags will presumably be taken to be sorted once you are done checking them. The first test will occur this summer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Delta aims for these machines to enable you to check your own bags, which should mean the machines will weigh the luggage and allow you to pay any associated fees directly from the machine, although that was not specified. Delta hopes these types of machines will help more than just the customers who use them. “We see a future where Delta agents will be freed up to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service.” said Gareth Joyce, Delta’s senior vice president of airport customer service and cargo, in a press release announcing the news.
While Delta wants to use your face to help you check your bags quicker, it will not be the first. Napoli International Airport in Italy recently implemented Rockwell Collins’ M Series Plus self-service bag drop machines. The machines allow customers to weigh and tag their bags, as well as pay. There is no facial recognition technology used, so identity verification is handled the old-fashioned way with passport/ID scanners. So far, EasyJet is the only airline that is using the machines at the airport.
Self-service bag drops may be the future, but other airlines have recently begun implementing facial recognition to keep customers safe. Ottawa International Airport began implementing facial recognition in kiosks to verify a traveler’s identity this spring. Last year, John F. Kennedy International Airport started using facial recognition to help verify the identity of travelers using electronic passports.
Delta will use the feedback it gets during the trial run of these self-bag-drop machines to see how much they help. Let’s hope the face of bag checking is about to change.