Tuesday, October 02, 2007
Check-in here, there, everywhere
The other day I was asked to comment on a charter airline's new check-in service. The company is offering its customers the option of checking-in, luggage and all, at the hotel. This certainly eases a passengers' travel experience and is a benefit of IATA's stated goal of all airlines being ticket-less in the near future. This charter airline isn't the first to offer such a service, however they are probably one of the few that offer it today. However, I just read that Copenhagen Airport will cooperate with the city's transport providers and offer CUSS check-in machines at various strategic locations. This is cooperation at its best and offers customers real value. The airport plays the role of a supporting infrastructure to airlines and clearly what makes airline passengers happy makes airline's happy, and airlines are an airport's customers. The airport has the role as a supporting actor. If the check-in area or baggage system does not function optimally then airline customers are hassled. The problem is that the airline gets the blame, not the airport. So, the airport has to strive to offer a seamless solution, but does not get any of the rewards from the end-user, that goes to the airline usually. The airport has just christened its new metro service on the 28th of September and it offers users a painless and quick journey into and from the city (although they should have put an escalator from the passenger overpass to the terminal floor, instead of the world's two slowest elevators (public elevators in Denmark seem to be slow everywhere)). Now the airport is going to put CUSSs in metro stations, train stations, and parking lots. Passengers can check-in and print a luggage tags from a number of locations beyond the airport boundaries. Once in the terminal they can drop off their luggage with the airline or go straight to the security line. This frees up the check-in for those that can't use the automated machines or need special assistance (plus CPH is architecturally beautiful but not very practical; who designed the sole passenger exit door to spew travelers directly into where people have to check-in and wait in line?). A win-win situation. Less waiting for those that are self-supporting and for those that aren't. It's great to see an airport that understands how to cooperate with other transport modes and infrastructure elements, rather than operate with a closed-minded view focusing on ramp ops.