Photo: Flickr / mikecogh
Self-service kiosks might be the coolest thing to happen to airports since the lounge. As the Journal pointed out on Monday, airports are moving away from human interactions to a do-it-yourself model where online booking, check-in kiosks and mobile boarding passes are the norm.
“I saw the Journal’s story and I was thinking, what took them so long?” said consumer advocate Christopher Elliott over email. “A lot of aspects in the check-in process have been begging to be automated for years.”
With self-service kiosks, where people check and tag their own bags, airport lines could move a lot faster, and that’s a good thing for our sanity and wallets.
For starters, if there’s no reason to check a bag then there will be less incentive to leave items at home or turn to shipping services like Lugless, which literally lug bags from destination to door and charge rates starting at $39. If you’re cool with checking your bag, why ship it?
The automated check-ins could also do away with cluttered cabins and delayed boarding times, both of which tick off travellers and hang penny-pinchers out to dry when there’s no room to store their bags, and they have to pay to check them.
“There are lots of inefficiencies in the check-in process today,” said Elliott. “Have you ever stood in front of a ticket counter and watched an agent type away furiously, trying to fix something or change your seat assignment? That can be automated.”
All this automation might be the beginning of a whole new travel era, one that’s just what the passengers ordered. Last spring, 75% of worldwide fliers told SITA, the Geneva-based airline IT provider, that self-service is the way to go.
Could self-directed boarding be next?