I will do almost anything to avoid an airport check-in queue. For flights where I can check-in online and get away with cabin baggage only, I make sure I pack light! I cram determinedly what I can into my hold all in a bid to make my journey a shorter, smoother, more pleasurable experience.
But there are occasions when I simply can't avoid it, whether it be to drop off my luggage, have my visa checked or the obvious one.....to check-in to my flight and collect my boarding pass! Whatever the reason, the experience varies greatly, depending on the airport, airline or handling agent.
For the airports which are capacity constrained, with limited physical space within their check-in halls, lengthy queues are commonplace. Airlines battle for desk space in a bid to service more passengers (and therefore more flights) and the airports endeavour to squeeze as many people as they can through their terminals.
Suffice to say that waiting to check-in is often surveyed as the #1 bugbear for passengers when travelling through an airport - the more protracted the process, the more impact it has on the passenger experience and the amount they spend airside. Pretty obvious stuff really.
We, at Ink Aviation, have been looking at simple, cost effective ways to provide immediate capacity for airlines and airports, without the need to invest in additional expensive fixed infrastructure.
Through the use of our solutions, we have now empowered airline and handling agents with the tools to provide full mobile Departure Control System (DCS) to passengers, regardless of location. Armed with an iPhone or Android device, boarding pass and bag tag printer, agents can now deliver check-in [and boarding] services at the point of need - including the ability to collect APIS data, print and scan boarding passes and IATA standard bag tags.
Check-in baggage outside the airport
A leading UK airline uses the Ink solution to check-in holiday makers across more than 200 hotels across Europe, enabling them to process passengers before they have left their hotel. The next time they see their luggage is on the conveyor belt at the airport when they have returned home. The solution is not only helping provide immediate capacity to the carriers existing check-in process across many stations, it is also delivering an enhanced passenger experience and additional non-aviation revenue for airports.
Some of our customers also employ it tactically to increase passenger flow within the terminal. Enabling roaming agents to check-in passengers while they queue adds immediate capacity above and beyond their existing desks infrastructure. Other airlines do away with desks altogether.
Importantly, by removing the reliance on the fixed check-in desk, airlines are now bringing their services to their passengers, rather than making them wait. This poses an interesting question for an airline: "Do we need to maintain our current costly CUTE contracts?" We are finding that this shift is already taking place.
The business case is often an easy one to substantiate, as it is a commercial win for the airline, airport and most importantly, the passenger!