American Airlines Expands Self-Service

Following a successful service test in Austin Bergstrom International Airport earlier this year, American Airlines has introduced self-service baggage tagging machines at Orlando International Airport, USA.
Paul Stumbo, American’s Managing Director of Customer Contact Planning, explained that during the test, Austin passengers were able to speed up check-in times by as much as 55%.
The kiosks can be used to print checked baggage tags during the check-in process.  Customers input the amount of checked bags, pay any necessary charges, print the bag tags and place them on to their luggage.  They can then take the bags to a designated agent, who scans the boarding passes, verifies IDs and takes the bags for inspection and boarding.
American plans to launch self-tag at additional airports in 2013, including Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York JFK, Miami, Boston, San Francisco, St Louis, Chicago O’Hare and Washington Reagan.
Mr Stumbo commented:  “With this new service, our skilled agents will now be able to devote more time to customers who require extra help.”
However, Henry Harteveldt, veteran Airline and Travel Industry Analyst and Co-Founder of Atmosphere Research Group, believes that the machines could reduce staffing in airports.  He said:  “By allowing those travellers who feel comfortable to tag their own bags or scan their own boarding passes, airlines can avoid hiring and training additional employees in the near term.
“In the long term, it may lead to the redeployment of staff or reduction in airport employee head count.”
(Image:  Oneworld)