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The future is upon us, and it begins with faster baggage checking at the airport. Delta wants to install facial recognition technology to help people check in their luggage before catching a flight. The move is a step forward for electronic services intended to reduce lines and waiting times at the airport. Here is what we know about Delta's upcoming new service.

Delta Airlines released a statement saying the company plans to invest $600,000 in installing four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport this year, so says The Verge. One machine includes facial recognition technology to verify the identification of Delta customers. The technology compares the person's face to his or her passport photo.

According to Delta, the kiosk is the natural next step because the airline already uses automated ticketing kiosks in airports; plus, the company allows customers check-in from a mobile app. So, the airline believes the new kiosk should hasten the process of checking baggage in two ways. First, it should help Delta customers bypass the standard route of checking luggage with an agent at the check-in desk. Secondly, it should present customer service agents with additional free time "to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service." (Hmm. It would be interesting to know how much of that free time service agents will spend helping people who do not understand how to use the kiosk and individuals who do not have a passport, which is necessary to use the machines.)

Sure, some people might say Delta's new facial recognition station sounds like another step toward an Orwellian, dystopian society or world similar to The Handmaid's Tale where Big Brother is watching everything we do. However, this technology is not entirely new for airports. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) uses similar equipment to register airport guests leaving the United States. Of course, CBP uses this information for purposes of national security, not to expedite a customer service. But Delta says customers have nothing to worry about because the company complies with privacy regulations and does not store photos of its clients. Besides, lines at check-in desks can be brutal. If Delta thinks this idea could work, it could be worth a try.

Delta plans to collect feedback from customers to figure out how people like the technology. Hopefully, the move spells success. After all, this year has provided a string of miserable stories regarding customer service by airlines such as Delta and United. It would be excellent if this new technology instead aligned with positive news about airlines, such as the story of the Southwest pilot who surprised his one millionth passenger with gifts. We will be sure to let you know how the new technology works once it becomes a reality.

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