Posted by: chasker | August 29, 2007

Airport Check-In Kiosks – Why the Secrecy?

With the Labor Day weekend looking it is shaping up to be another busy travel time at airports around the US. So it’s time to let people in on a little secret – use the self-check-in kiosks at the airport as soon as you get there. Everytime Andy and I travel for work we are shocked to see the line to check in with a service agent snaking back and forth and sometimes out the door, while the self-check-in kiosks stand idle.
We go straight to the kiosk, check-in, print the boarding pass, gp through security and order food at a restaurant before half the people in line have even been seen.
So why is this? The only logical explanation I have come up with is that most people are still wary of new technology, and, while this technology has been around for a few years now, it is only in the last couple of years that they have really become common place. However, the airlines themselves, as far as I am aware have never marketed these kiosks to your everyday flyer.
Why no campaign comparing the ease of use to an ATM? If you can use an ATM you can definitely use one of these kiosks! Why no media blitz on the amount of time-savings these machines can bring the average traveler? Airlines have evidently invested a lot in these machines, but adoption rates still look surprisingly low. Don’t the airlines want to recoup this investment?
Word of mouth marketing alone just doesn’t seem to be working, so why not use the number of machines an airline provides at airports around the country as a competitive differentiator?
Part of me doesn’t want these machines to catch on, because I love going straight up to them and not having to wait. Ohhh…and please don’t tell anyone that they can actually check in at home and print their boarding passes before they even arrive at the airport. Now that IS a secret.

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