Category Archives: Airline kiosks

A Finance Minister, Hedge Fund Manager, Contract Manufacturer, EE, Geologist and Deep Sea Diver walk up to a BAR.

Mike Masone - Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

Mike Masone – Sales Director at SlabbKiosks

This was originally posted on LinkedIn by our Sales Director, Mike Masone.

This weekend, I caught myself watching one of those ‘DeadSeaGold’ shows where various prospector/tv star types vie for supremacy in extracting gold from some exotic environment. In an effort to determine if the producers were documenting a commercially viable activity or just creating drama for a a TV show I grabbed my phone to check the spot price of gold. Unsatisfied but undaunted after some quick arithmetic I read a linked story. Of course this story was just that, conjecture populated by the conflicting opinions of various talking heads about what certainly must be driving the current price and trend and where the price will go. It was then I thought about what each of fellows in the above would think to themselves upon seeing a bar of gold flash in front of them on a screen, would they wish it worth more, less, be replaceable by some other metal. Kind of a Rorschah Test for something presented as more=better. Fun Sunday at the Masone house for sure!

gold barMost of the time, perspective matters. Much of the time nothing matters more. There are ostensible winners and losers in every grain of gold extracted from the earth whether or not they even know who they are. In the same vein there are winners and losers in every Self-service and technology implementation.

Next time you fly take a moment to look at the long-empty counter. Every one of the 30 or so blank windows in a terminal is a job that doesn’t exist anymore. True, sometimes workers are re-trained but in some businesses there is nowhere to go and some career paths evaporate. Those losses are cataclysmic to those who experience their first and second order effects. Now, turn around look at the mass of people checking in using kiosks; look at the price of your ticket, look up at Bloomberg on the TV showing an uptick in the NYSE. You see, receive and maybe viscerally feel the first order benefits. Smaller for sure, but when applied across the thousands of travelers, millions of investors and their families no less important.

Whether or not “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” often depends more on which group you fall into than your implicit morality or stance on Vulcan philosophy. I’m constantly reminding myself of this fact when discussing any technology implementation. No matter how objectively ‘great’ something is there are always winners & losers on a personal level. For every early adopter who can’t wait to prove ROI or cut the ribbon there is a resistor fighting to maintain the status comfy. It isn’t necessary to agree, disagree or even address individual concerns, just to understand that duality actually does exist. I have other customers, many of the people who are made redundant, have one career supporting one life that is every bit as important to them as mine is to me. Awareness of that reality maintains humanity and tamps down the arrogance and callousness that tend to creep into the process of implementing new technology. Be Kind!

The Future of Travel: Self-service Technology

It seems as though for the past year, or so, not a month has passed where another US airport hasn’t announced the launch of automated passport control kiosks (APCs) to assist in expediting the customs and immigration process. APCs, as they are becoming commonly known as, are self-service passport control kiosks that replace the traditional immigration process of completing declaration and customs forms.

 

 
According to information provided on the SITA website, the kiosks uses three steps when processing travellers. They allow passengers to:

 

 
1) Answer a set of regulatory questions via a touchscreen
2) Have their passport read and verified
3) Have their identities verified.

 

 

 

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

US Global Entry Program (Photo Courtesy: association.com)

These three simple steps, have now made a once time-consuming process, quick, efficient and beneficial to not only travelers but to the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and airlines as well. The United States CBP can now boast faster processing times that reduce queues while increasing processing capacity with the same number of agents. This allows agents to focus on persons of interest. The system also provides high accuracy biometric matching. The kiosks enable airports to use their space and resources more efficiently, reduce queues and clear immigration and customs faster, thereby improving the overall service experience for passengers. The incidence of missed connections is also reduced.

 

 
There are APC kiosk at over 20 airports in North America including Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), and Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), to name a few.

 

 
Recently, countries such as Aruba and the Bahamas also announced the introduction of APC kiosks. Nassau has plans to purchase 20 of the kiosks. It is expected the trend will continue with the introduction of these kiosks in other major international airports as well.

 

 
But even before the use of APC kiosks, the aviation industry had adopted self-service technology in an effort to enhance the travel experience from arrival at the airport, to the check-in and boarding process. There are many examples of this technology currently at work, many of which utilize the self-service kiosk. Here are a few examples we found:

 

 

 

SITA Beacon Registry (Photo courtesy: developer.aero/BeaconRegistry)

SITA Beacon Registry     (Photo courtesy: developer.aero)

• SITA has also launched the SITA Common-use Beacon Registry. It is a global beacon registry for airlines who wish to communicate with passengers as they enter an airport. The system can communicate with mobile devices within a radius of 100 feet, identify the location of the passenger and send regular updates including estimated walk time to the gate, boarding alerts and if the boarding gate changes.

 

 

 

Canoe.ca ranked the top 10 airport terminals in the world, #1, Hong Kong International Airport, has won several best airport awards. The airport features amenities such as a shopping mall and gourmet food options as well as internet kiosks.

 

 

 

MegaNews Magazines 'Print on Demand' kiosk (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

MegaNews Magazines ‘Print on Demand’ kiosk           (Photo courtesy: airportsinternational.com)

• Sweden’s airport is the first to offer Print on Demand kiosks to passengers. Described as the first ‘automatic newsstand’, these kiosks are simple to use – passengers can choose from hundreds of titles, browse the magazine they would like and once they’ve made a decision on the publication they want, they simply pay with a credit card. The publication is delivered in 2 minutes.

 

 

 

• Poland’s Chopin Airport has taken it a step further by providing a virtual assistant to help passengers with self-service check-in. The assistant responds in both English and Polish, to queries that include how to use the self-check-in kiosks, which documents need to be prepared and how to print a boarding pass. It’s the first of its kind in Poland.

 

 

 

Russia's Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

Russia’s Domodedovo Airport (Photo Courtesy: domodedovo.ru)

• Moscow Domodedovo Airport has installed self-service kiosks that allow passengers to report lost or in transit bags. It eliminates the need to queue up to speak with an agent, instead, passengers simply scan their bag receipt barcode at the kiosk to file a missing bag report. The kiosks are linked to WorldTracer, the global tracing system for mishandled baggage developed by SITA and IATA. The system then matches found bags with lost bag reports.

 

 

• Austrian Airlines has introduced self-service bag drop units at Vienna Airport. The units being used during this trial phase, allow passengers who have already checked-in for their flight to go directly to the bag drop counter to print and attach their bag tags and deposit their luggage into the baggage handling system, without the need for an airline agent.

 

 

 

Hamburg's self-service infrastructure (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

Hamburg’s self-service infrastructure                  (Photo courtesy: airport-world.com)

• Hamburg recently revamped their airport with the launch of new self-service infrastructure which gives passengers the option of checking in and dropping off baggage at self-service kiosks.

 

 

 

• London’s Tesco offers a virtual grocery store at the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport. After arrival, travelers can order groceries via a digital signage kiosk.

 

 

• Malta International Airport allows passengers to purchase travel insurance via a kiosk.

 

 

 

These are just a few examples of self-service technology at work. It is expected that the trend will only continue with predictions of investments in smart airport technology surpassing $13 million by 2020. According to an article on kioskmarketplace.com, “The current market, estimated to be $9,718.07 million in 2014, is focusing more on passenger satisfaction by implementing self-service solutions. For example, two-thirds of airports have programs to deploy kiosks and Wi-Fi. Improving passenger satisfaction is the primary reason for airport IT expenditures…”

This comes as no surprise, as passengers continue to demand value for their money with the expectation that they spend less time in queues and at airports, in general, and more time spent enjoying their journeys.

Department of Transportation’s New Requirements for Airline Kiosks

Last week the Department of Transportation issued new rules to ensure equal access for all airline passengers with disabilities. It is part of the Department’s continued implementation of the Air Carrier Access Act of 1986. The new rules focus on two main areas of service – airline websites and kiosks.

 

 
Airlines are now required to have both their websites and automated airport kiosks accessible to passengers with disabilities. The Department is also allowing airlines to “choose between stowing wheelchairs in a cabin compartment on new aircraft or strapping them to a row of seats”. This option allows the airline to transport 2 manual folding wheelchairs at the same time.

 

 
Kiosks sold in the US must conform to specific physical standards, as set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The Act indicates specific requirements for kiosk designs to ensure that they are accessible by all users. In addition to this, the Department of Transportation rules now state the following for airline kiosks, which are usually used for printing boarding passes and baggage tags:

 

 
• At least 25% of all kiosks at each airport location must be accessible to passengers with disabilities within 10 years even if no new kiosks are installed.

 

 
• Airlines must adhere to the accessibility standards as set forth by the US Department of Justice for ATM and fare machines in the 2010 ADA rule as well as the Section 508 standards for self-contained closed products.

 

 
The rule also sets detailed guidelines for airline website requirements and the transportation of wheelchairs on airplanes.

 

 
Since the announcement there has been disappointment expressed by The National Federation of the Blind, due to the length of time the DOT is giving airlines to implement all changes. The Federation’s President, Dr. Marc Maurer, pointed out that they expected the rule to be stronger instead of providing a seemingly lax timeframe for implementation. He stated that it allows “…ten more years of discrimination and ten more years of missed opportunities for innovators.” The Federation is hoping that the Department will review and amend the rule to reflect its commitment to equal access for disabled travelers.

 

 
Additional information on the new rules is available at http://www.dot.gov/briefing-room/new-dot-rules-make-flying-easier-passengers-disabilities