Photo: Flickr/ BriYYZ
BRITISH AIRWAYS is trialling a rather useful-sounding new concept: automatic check-in. For certain flights originating in France, passengers who selected the option when booking will be checked in, assigned a seat, and sent an electronic boarding pass. This all happens 24 hours before the flight is due to depart, and passengers who don’t like the seat they’ve been assigned can change it. If the trial goes well, BA intends to introduce the system across its network by the end of 2013.The airline says this will give passengers one less thing to think about in the run-up to their flight. But it could also be a useful way for BA to get rid of unpopular (middle) seats. After all, this is an automatic, time-saving process, and a lot of the people using it will save time by turning up for their flight without bothering to check which seat they’ve been assigned. Those who care about getting a particular seat can choose it when booking their ticket, but will have to pay. This is the age of ancillaries, of course.
Once passengers’ seating preferences are on the record, BA will try to ensure that they are automatically checked in to just such a seat. The airline says the development is going to “change the future of airline check-in, as we know it today”. Unravel that at your peril.
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