What if you can hop on board a flight after scanning your own boarding pass? How about tagging and checking your own bag? Or finding the nearest spot for an airport manicure by tapping a screen?
It may sound like a flying experience far, far in the future. But it’s happening right now.
US airlines and airports are innovating on the ground and in the air, rolling out new gadgets, kiosks and systems designed to put more power in the hands of business and leisure fliers, and enhance the overall flying experience.
“Number one is to put control and convenience in the hands of our customers,” says Jeff Foland, United Airlines’s executive vice president of marketing, technology and strategy, adding that the new tools also enable employees to spend more time with customers who need help tackling problems.
On April 30, United Airlines will open its new Terminal B at Boston Logan International Airport, and officials say that it will be a state-of-the-art showcase of the latest technology.
“It’s a very important station to us … a very important business market, so we decided to invest there and put the best of the best technology innovation all in one place,” says Foland of the $US160 million ($A172.6m) terminal. “It’s the most advanced station we’ll have in the system at this point in time, and we’ll continue to advance other stations as we go forward.”
Inside the lobby of Terminal B, fliers will find 24 kiosks where they can weigh and tag their own luggage without the assistance of an agent. Then they can drop the bags off at one of six luggage acceptance points. Agents will be at stations throughout the lobby to provide help when needed.
There will also be do-it-yourself boarding, with eight of 10 gates outfitted with units that allow passengers to scan their boarding passes and then proceed onto the plane, speeding up the process of getting everyone to their seats. And the new Boston terminal will have self-service kiosks where passengers can resolve issues, such as booking new flights if theirs are canceled.
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.