Delta to Test Self-Service Bag Drop Machines in US

To save precious time at the airport, you’ve already checked in online or used a speedy check-in kiosk. Then…argh! Time slows to a glacial pace as you stand in that long, snaking line to check your bag. There is good news on the horizon: Baggage gridlock may soon be a thing of the past. Delta Airlines is about to begin testing four self-service bag drop machines at St. Paul-Minneapolis International Airport.

The airline says it has invested $600,000 in these machines because studies have shown they can process as many as twice the number of customers per hour.

One machine will be a dramatic first for a U.S. airline. It will use biometric facial recognition to match passengers with their passport photos. This technology is used in security systems and can be compared to other biometrics such as fingerprint or eye iris recognition systems.

“We expect this to save customers time,” said Gareth Joyce, Delta’s senior vice president of 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.”

Other Delta tech innovations to enhance customers’ experience include working with the Transportation Security Administration to create the first automated screening lanes in the United States, at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the first app to help pilots avoid turbulence for smoother flights.

The airline will closely monitor customer feedback during the testing of the new self-service bag drops.