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How Alaska Airlines Is Changing Check-In

Alaska Airlines has completely revolutionized the airline industry, and it’s gotten virtually no credit for it.  First to sell tickets online.  First to allow check-in online.  Now, the WSJ looks at how Alaska Airlines has changed the entire check-in process at Anchorage’s airport.  In short, there are no check-in counters (they’re also building a new terminal in Seattle with a similar layout).  Passengers either proceed to a kiosk to check in or to a bag drop area once they have a boarding pass.  At the bag drop area, they put their own bag on the conveyor, while a staff member handles two lines of people checking in at once.  In short — the whole system is self service, though staff are around to help you if you have questions.  The airline says that costs have been cut by half from a traditional ticket counter, and that check in times have dropped significantly. 

The key piece of this is that customers don’t feel abandoned (which is often the case when there’s a huge line at a ticket counter or, as other airlines have done, hidden all staff members away when you have a question).  Self service does not mean no customer service — nice job.

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  1. Wow. I didn’t know Alaska Airlines pioneered the kiosks to check in. I first used them on Southwest. But their new systems sounds great. Hope it filters down to the rest of the airlines soon.

  2. I just flew out of Anchorage on Saturday, and Continental already has this set-up. I was looking for a ticket counter since I couldn’t print out my e-ticket, and all I saw was the bag drop. This took me awhile to realize that was the only location to check in for Continental and the flight, which is sad since the airport is small.

  3. Alaska can call this whatever they want, they can try to “tell” the world that this is what the customer wants. They are WRONG!

    We need HUMAN BEINGS not an vacant lot with a conveyer belt. I will simply STOP flying Alaska.

    I’ll spend my money where they continue to hire Humans instead of squirreling it away into executive’s bonus.

    See ya Alaska!

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