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Delta Air Lines leads the way with facial recognition check in trials

 The US’s Delta Air Lines has released a statement saying it will run trials of facial recognition machines at airport check-in points. The trials will take place at Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport and will see passengers check their own bags onto flights and bypass check-in clerks altogether.

The new streamlined check-in employs state-of-the-art facial recognition software to verify the traveller and his or her passport photograph match. Delta claims that allowing passengers to check their own bags in takes half the time traditional check-ins take.

The airline says the new machines will free up staff to focus on assisting passengers in other areas. The statement noted that US$600,000 (£463,000) had been invested in the purchase of four self-service machines for the trials.

Airlines such as British Airways have already begun using semi-automated check-in which gives passengers the option of printing their own boarding passes at airports. At Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, BA passengers also have the option of using self-service luggage-drops but these are still manned by humans.

Facial recognition is a first for a US airport and biometrics specialists say it is the way forward for the future. Speaking to media sources in the US, professor Anil Jain says Delta’s prototype apparatus utilises already existing technology.

The Michigan State University don says advances in the technology are constantly evolving and will enable airlines to simplify the time-consuming process of checking in for flights. He noted that facial recognition was now extensively used by the likes of immigration and law enforcement agencies.

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