American has become the latest airline to employ advanced airport check-in technology to save their customers the pain of long airport lines. Instead, they can check in self-service kiosks, and, eventually, will be able to check in by telephone.
The carrier is installing OneStop Self-Service kiosks and expanding services such as OneStop Curbside Check-in and Roving Agent, which allows customer service agents to check-in passengers anywhere in the terminal. OneStop allows passengers to check-in by swiping a major credit card or an AAdvantage premium membership card at a self-service kiosk.
“No one likes to wait in line, so our customers love the convenience of our OneStop Self-Service product,” said Dan Garton, American`s executive vice president of customer service. “With the swipe of a card, they can get their boarding pass, select their seats, answer security questions, even check luggage at some locations—all in one stop, by simply touching the screen.”
The OneStop Self-Service kiosks are currently available at nine airports: Albuquerque, Atlanta, Austin, Chicago O`Hare, Dallas-Love Field, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Raleigh-Durham, San Antonio and San Jose, Calif. Approximately 40,000 customers used OneStop Self-Service in these locations last month. By the end of the summer, American will have about 300 devices installed at airport ticket counters, departure gates and selected Admirals Clubs in more than 30 cities.
The OneStop Self-Service product is the next generation of a kiosk application first developed by American several years ago. OneStop offers enhanced functionality as well as technical advancements over the original device. The OneStop software application was developed by Sabre, Inc and runs on a device manufactured by Northrop Grumman.
American also is expanding its use of Roving Agent, a wireless hand-held device used by American`s customer service employees to issue boarding passes to passengers through out the terminal—as they are sitting in the gate areas, at the coffee shop or at the duty free shop, for example. Roving Agent is currently available in several airports, including DFW and JFK, and will be in about 20 airports by year end.
Customers use their AAdvantage Executive Platinum, Platinum or Gold membership cards, or a major credit card, to begin the self-service transaction and then just follow the instructions on the touch-screen device. American also offers OneStop Curbside Check-in to both electronic and paper-ticketed passengers, allowing customers to check luggage and receive a boarding pass even before they enter the terminal. This service is available from about 200 units at nearly 70 domestic airports. More than 350,000 passengers use OneStop Curbside check-in on a monthly basis.
In the coming months, American plans to introduce telephone check-in service to top-tier AAdvantage members flying on electronic tickets without checked luggage.
Telephone check-in will complement the airline`s new Flight Status Notification feature, which offers proactive notification of changes to flight schedules or other flight information to individuals who register for this service through AA.com. The information is delivered through a variety of wired and wireless device options, including phones, e-mail, alphanumeric pagers, text-enabled wireless phones or personal digital assistants.
American is the latest airline to take advantage of advanced check-in technology. Several airlines have also recently launched Internet Check-in services to reduce long airport lines.
Cathay Pacific recently initiated a Web-based check-in. It is designed to speed up the boarding process and reduce long lines at airports by allowing passengers to check in before leaving for the airport. Its new online check-in service can be used up to 90 minutes before flight departure, and boarding passes must be collected at least 60 minutes before departure.
Northwest’s Internet check in program allows customers departing from 27 markets to check-in before they even reach the airport. The new service, which is available less than 24 hours and more than 90 minutes prior to departure, allows passengers to print their own boarding pass from their home or office computer, change their flight, and change or confirm a seat assignment.
British Airways’ service—the first in the UK - allows frequent flyers to use WAP phones to check-in for flights out of the UK. Co-developed with IBM, the application also allows passengers to select their seat via a graphical seat map on their handset. The graphical seat map was based upon the seat map used in British Airways’ airport check-in kiosks. as well as look up flight availability and view up-to-the-minute flight arrivals and departures information for any British Airways flight.