Air Canada Introduces Wireless Mobile Kiosks From IBM

Air Canada is using new wireless, mobile IBM self-service kiosks in a trial program to expedite passenger check-in at Toronto`s Lester B. Pearson Airport.

The kiosks represent the first jointly-developed solution from the strategic partnership of the two companies.  Roving Air Canada agents are using the kiosks to assist in “line busting” during busy travel periods, to check-in passengers on close-to-departure flights and to facilitate large groups and passengers with special needs.

Air Canada
agents - using a wearable computer and a mobile printer attached to their belt - simply swipe the passenger`s credit card or Air Canada Aeroplan frequent flier card through the printer to pull up the reservation.  Alternatively, the agent can input the passenger name and flight number on the computer`s touchscreen pad.

Once the record is displayed on the wearable computer - an eight-inch touch screen display unit - the agent can check in the passenger and print a boarding pass, allowing the customer to proceed directly to the gate.  Customers can confirm upgrades or rebook for an earlier flight through the mobile kiosk.

The kiosks are based on the IBM
self-service kiosk system Air Canada has been using since 1998.  That system, which consists of 142 kiosks across eight Canadian airports, has served as many as half the customers during peak periods and provides passengers with 80 percent reduction in check-in time.


In developing the mobile self service kiosks, IBM ported the applications on Air Canada`s existing kiosk system directly to the hand held units.  The existing architecture consists of an IBM pSeries which acts as a gateway between the kiosk server and the IBM Transaction Process Facility application software which holds the reservation data.

The kiosk system is powered by IBM MQSeries, IBM Kiosk Manager and IBM Consumer Device Services software.  The mobile IBM kiosk operates on an 802.11b wireless network and includes several additional authentication layers and security enhancements on top of the standard Wired Equivalent Privacy encryption algorithm layer in the 802.11b network.

Related stories on ITN:

(10/07/2001) British Airways orders more IBM kiosks to keep up with passenger demand

(15/02/2001) IBM Self Service Kiosks Provide Passengers The Ultimate Travel Experience At Korea`s Incheon International Airport