Airline passengers are buying tickets online, checking themselves in at airport kiosks, and even printing their own luggage tags at Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport. Now Delta is looking to take airport automation to the next level with self-boarding turnstiles at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
Frequent fliers like FlyerTalk member InfiniteCycle are quick to point out that carriers in Europe and Asia have been using automated boarding pass scanners for years. Lufthansa, for example, has been using self-boarding gates since the 1990s.
In the U.S., however, the concept is still relatively new. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that several U.S. carriers are now testing the automated devices, despite pushback from unions representing airline workers. Airlines say that self-service turnstiles free up agents to assist customers, while union leaders see these devices as a step toward pushing gate agents out of their jobs.
Although Delta representatives say they don’t currently have plans to expand the limited-time test program, officials at McCarran International are reportedly so happy with the results that they plan on adding self-boarding scanners to 14 gates by the end of the summer.
McCarran International representatives won’t disclose which airlines will be using these new automated scanners, however FlyerTalk member pinworm thinks Southwest airlines would be an obvious choice. “It seems to me WN could benefit from this more than other airlines. Imagine, a machine that is properly programmed will never allow A53 to board with A17.”
What do you think? Have you used an automated scanner before, and if so, what was your experience?