Alaska Airlines plans to deploy new technology and improved check-in offerings to make the airport lobby experience more streamlined and less of a headache.
On Tuesday, the company announced it would be transforming its airport check-in procedures that will have passengers “flying through the lobby in no time.”
The changes are being deployed at airports across the country that Alaska Airlines serves as part of a $2.5 billion investment into the improvement and enhancement of the airport experience.
Alaska will be prioritizing mobile technology to make the airport lobby experience less of a pain and reduce lines, with hopes of getting travelers into security within 5 minutes.
Among the changes, Alaska hopes to remove all self-service kiosks by the end of the year. Instead, travelers can simply check in and select seats from their mobile devices — a practice many travelers embraced years ago.
Alaska will also make checking your bag easier. Because much of the check-in and pre-boarding tasks can already be done on a phone, travelers can simply print off their luggage tags from a tablet using only their boarding pass. Many airports have already started this practice, and Alaska says 75% of travelers are coming to the airport with their boarding passes already in hand.
Perhaps the biggest change will come in spring 2024, when Alaska will begin deploying new automated bag drop stations.
Travelers will be able to drop off bags “with just a few quick scans,” Alaska said. The machine will scan your face, government-issue I.D. and bags and then take the bags onto a conveyor belt to be loaded onto the aircraft. Alaska said the new process will take less than a few minutes and will have travelers ready to get through security faster than ever before.
“As we thought about how to provide the most caring experience for our guests, it was clear the lobby was a pain point,” said Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of innovation and merchandising. “We realized the majority of our guests were doing most of the kiosk actions on their own phones and we could reduce the congestion in our airports.”
Jain said Alaska was the first airline to introduce self-serve kiosks more than 20 years ago, and it plans to be the first airline to remove them.
“We’re looking forward to offering the new full guest experience next summer,” Jain said.
For those less tech-savvy travelers, customer service agents will still be available in the airport lobbies, Alaska said, but the vast majority of guests said they value self-service when it comes to a stress-free flight.