This year, Alaska Airlines will move to remove airport kiosks. As part of a 2.5 billion technology overhaul, this move aims to encourage passengers to use their smartphones, and arrive to the airport ready to walk through security. This jury is still out on whether this is a bold move that will galvanize travelers or if it will be an unmitigated disaster. Either way – it’s a controversial move. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of this decision, and examine how it will impact your experience at the airport.
Pros for Travelers
Enhanced Efficiency: The removal of airport kiosks could streamline the check-in process. You’ll no longer need to wait in line or compete for kiosk availability during peak travel times. Instead, iPad “bag tag stations” will take payment and print bag tags. Removing kiosks will significantly reduce wait times, and allow you to proceed directly to your gate without unnecessary delays.
Increased Mobility: By eliminating kiosks, Alaska Airlines aims to encourage passengers to use their mobile check-in options. You can conveniently check-in using your smartphone from anywhere, enabling a seamless experience from home to the gate. This mobile-first approach offers flexibility and convenience, particularly for frequent flyers or tech-savvy travelers.
Sustainability: The removal of airport kiosks aligns with Alaska Airlines’ commitment to environmental sustainability. By reducing the need for paper tickets and the physical infrastructure associated with kiosks, the airline can contribute to a greener future. If you prioritize sustainability and green travel, you may appreciate this step towards a more sustainable travel industry.
Cons for Travelers
Accessibility: Not all passengers may have access to or be comfortable with using smartphones. This might pose challenges for travelers who are less familiar with technology or lack internet connectivity. The removal of airport kiosks may inadvertently exclude certain segments of the population, potentially causing inconvenience and frustration.
Technical Glitches: Despite advancements in technology, technical glitches still occur. If you encounter issues with your mobile check-in, such as a poor internet connection or a malfunctioning device, the absence of airport kiosks means you will have limited alternatives to resolve the problem promptly. This can lead to added stress and potential delays for passengers who rely solely on mobile check-in.
Human Interaction: For some travelers, the airport experience provides an opportunity for human interaction and personalized assistance. And we are in an era pf diminished customer support/service. The removal of airport kiosks may diminish the chance for passengers to engage with airline staff. It will make it tougher to seek immediate assistance for any inquiries or concerns. This shift towards a more automated process may result in a less personalized travel experience, which might put people off in this already disconnected time.