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Virgin Atlantic Introduces Self Service Check In

Virgin Atlantic has launched DIY Check In for passengers with the introduction of self service kiosks at Heathrow Terminal 3 and online check in via the Virgin Atlantic website.  DIY Check In is a key element in Virgin Atlantic’s strategy to match the airline’s services to today’s lifestyles by allowing passengers to ‘Save time on line, spend time on life!’  Virgin Atlantic predicts that 50% of its passengers, over two million, will be using its self service check in methods by 2006.  And to celebrate this new strategy the airline will be encouraging passengers to take part in an online competition where they can win a pair of tickets every year for the rest of their lives.

Virgin Atlantic’s DIY Check In offers more functionality than other airlines - allowing all passengers including groups, families and those travelling with infants to utilise the service.  Virgin Atlantic has been working with its web development agency Conchango on the design of the kiosks interface, to ensure that they are simple to use and provide a fun, easy and innovative experience for passengers. 

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic said: “We are delighted to offer passengers these fun and easy to use self service options which allow them to save time online and spend time on life!  With these innovations Virgin Atlantic predicts that 50% of its passengers will be using its DIY Check In by 2006.

“Virgin Atlantic has pioneered a self service check in method that allows any passenger to check in online inside 24 hours of departure and allows groups of up to 9 people check in at a kiosk at any one time.  This is an important step for Virgin Atlantic towards further developments in customer self service for long haul travel.

“In line with the Virgin’s well known fun and innovative approach, we are also proud to introduce Ruby - our virtual check in agent who guides passengers through the check in process on screen - so our kiosks are without a doubt the best looking in the airport!


“To celebrate the launch of DIY Check In we have launched ‘Fly Free For Life’ - an online competition where passengers can win a pair of flights every year for the rest of their lives!  We now fly to 23 exciting destinations worldwide including our recent addition Sydney, with others planned to launch this year including Mumbai, Havana and Nassau!”

The online competition ‘Fly Free For Life’ launches on today.  In connection with the theme of saving time online, visitors to the site must guess the time the clock will stop between 12.01am on 1 February and midnight on the 7 February.  And if they guess correctly - they could win a pair of Economy tickets every year for the rest of their lives.

Online check in enables all passengers to check in for flights within 24 hours of departure.  All passengers and ticket types will be able to log on, check in, select a seat and then make their way to the airport to arrive a minimum of one hour before departure.  At the airport passengers simply pick up their boarding pass from a dedicated desk and then present any hold baggage at the allocated bag drop, which has been specially tailored for this fast track service.  Each passenger will be security profiled at the bag drop. 

Virgin Atlantic will be introducing kiosks across its operation in two phases.  Eight Virgin Atlantic kiosks have been installed at Heathrow Terminal 3.  The second phase will be completed during 2005 when further Virgin Atlantic kiosks will be installed at Gatwick Airport, Los Angeles and JFK. 

Passengers check in at the Kiosk on the day of departure using a machine-readable passport, credit card, frequent flyer card or Virgin Atlantic booking reference for identification.  Boarding cards are printed at the Kiosk, and passengers are then directed to take their hold luggage to the allocated bag drop, where they will be security profiled.  The kiosk can read all notes in the booking such as upgrades and can even print lounge invitations for Upper Class passengers. 

Virgin Atlantic is committed to providing a seamless service and choice of check in options.  At Gatwick, passengers can check in the night before their flight using the Twilight Check In, which is open from 2pm until 9pm.  In the Caribbean, ‘Check In and Chill Out’ is popular with passengers who can check in for their flight when checking out of their hotel.  In Florida, Virgin Atlantic offers a check in facility in Downtown Disney enabling passengers to check in themselves and their bags at a kiosk on the day of departure and spend the last day of their holiday in the theme park, without having to rush back to the hotel.

Virgin Atlantic is also delighted to announce the launch of its new look website which went live in August 2004.  The new design by Conchango brings Virgin Atlantic’s website in line with the current look and feel of the brand, improves usability for customers and to brings the site into compliance with the UK Disability and Discrimination Act, making the Virgin Atlantic website accessible for all users.