Lousy Kiosks at YYZ

Old Jan 2, 16, 10:23 pm
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Lousy Kiosks at YYZ

Has anyone else had trouble with Air Canada Kiosks at YYZ (more specifically the ones in Trans-border flights area)?

I was travelling today with my wife and kids back to the US and had to check two bags. I don't usually check bags when flying myself so I don't often use the kiosks at YYZ.

We did OLCI and arrived at the airport 3 hours early (we have heard US customs is totally unpredictable these days... with some lengthy waits) to make sure we had plenty of time. Went straight to the kiosks to print bag tags per Air Canada agent.

First kiosk took forever to recognize/scan passports and finally timed out once we got to passport #3. Realizing that something was amiss with this machine, we went over to another, which was at least recognizing when a passport was inserted. It got to passport #2 this time and then after not reading properly on the first attempt, kicked us out and told us to see an agent, which I decided to do.

Agent at the line entrance of course was of no use (friendly at least) and told us to get in the full service line with others which was lengthy and not moving fast at all (I have no status obviously). It looked as though other people were having the same problems and everyone was clogging up the line for the same reason. I decided to leave my family in line (even though the Agent said that once the kiosk kicks you out, it often will not work at all) and figured I'd keep trying since the we would be forever in line and had nothing to lose.

I tried yet another machine, got to passport #3 and it did not read properly twice and kicked me out. Did the same thing again got to #4 and kicked me out. Finally I got through all 4 passports and it printed bag tags! Of course my family had barely moved 3 feet in line. So we luckily avoided waiting maybe in an hour lineup.

Luckily no line up in customs (everyone was probably still trying to check bags!) and we had loads of time to kill. Although this whole process to get to the gate still took an hour.

My question is how are the kiosks so bad at reading documents? Is this Air Canada's responsibility for maintaining these machines or is it the airports? One thing is for sure, the agents were of absolutely no help whatsoever. You would think they would know that the machines were at least finicky and provide some assistance. It certainly would shorten up lines and make passengers less frustrated. It is interesting to note that the US pre-clearance machines read each passport immediately on the first try without a problem.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 11:12 pm
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This is nothing particular to AC. Happens to all airlines, all the time. Bad tech day.
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Old Jan 2, 16, 11:15 pm
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Sounds like an adventure i'd rather avoid.

I tried to use the kiosks a couple of times. One time, one kiosk rejected my passport and my Nexus card. Thus off to the SE line. OK, I'll admit that's not as bad as the non-priority lines. A second time, it timed out and a third time it ran out of paper. I have no idea who owns these kiosks or who is responsible for them, nor do I care.

I'm 0 for 3 regardless of the reasons, so I'm not playing that game again.


(I'm of the belief that technology is only great if it works, if it's fun and if it makes you rich - or all of the above.)


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Last edited by 24left; Jan 3, 16 at 12:01 am Reason: bold, because
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Old Jan 3, 16, 1:20 am
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Originally Posted by littlea905 View Post

My question is how are the kiosks so bad at reading documents? Is this Air Canada's responsibility for maintaining these machines or is it the airports? One thing is for sure, the agents were of absolutely no help whatsoever. You would think they would know that the machines were at least finicky and provide some assistance. It certainly would shorten up lines and make passengers less frustrated. It is interesting to note that the US pre-clearance machines read each passport immediately on the first try without a problem.

Aren't the machines shared between a number of airlines? That's my impression.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 8:09 am
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If the transaction always failed on passport #3, maybe that is the source of the problem and not the kiosk?

The kiosks are reading the passports optically, so if the machine readable zone (those two lines at the bottom) were printed a bit high on the page, or if the biodatapage is a bit dirty, the passport can misread. One trick is to fold both covers back and insert the flimsy biodatapage very slowly on its own.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 12:59 pm
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Originally Posted by Seat13F_AC_CRJ View Post
If the transaction always failed on passport #3, maybe that is the source of the problem and not the kiosk?

The kiosks are reading the passports optically, so if the machine readable zone (those two lines at the bottom) were printed a bit high on the page, or if the biodatapage is a bit dirty, the passport can misread. One trick is to fold both covers back and insert the flimsy biodatapage very slowly on its own.
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Wasn't just Passport #3. The only passport that didn't give me problems was mine (the first one inserted). I ended up being a little more careful how I was placing in the machine and started holding pressure against the reader (maybe having it flat against the glass helped).

Are these common use machines provided by the airport?
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Old Jan 3, 16, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by littlea905 View Post
Are these common use machines provided by the airport?
Usually yes. In fact they are referred to as CUSS kiosks, Common Use Self Service.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 2:19 pm
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Originally Posted by Seat13F_AC_CRJ View Post
Usually yes. In fact they are referred to as CUSS kiosks, Common Use Self Service.
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Aren't they the same ones where an alert was issued due to being compromised?
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Old Jan 3, 16, 2:38 pm
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Originally Posted by Bartolo View Post
Aren't they the same ones where an alert was issued due to being compromised?
From 2008

"Various theories are being advanced to account for WestJet airline’s “extraordinary” action of removing credit card check-ins from self-service kiosks at airports across Canada.

....It’s a self-described “extraordinary step” after Visa and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority sent the company letters about possible fraud involving 150 terminals at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport.".....

...WestJet was the only one – of the 13 airlines that serve up boarding passes at the common-use terminals – to stop accepting credit cards. Air Canada didn’t follow suit, saying it feels comfortable the terminals are secure, despite the investigation."

http://www.itbusiness.ca/news/theori...-airport/11919


Also interesting article from 2014

QUOTES

"Many airport kiosks are CUSS — or Common Use Self-Service — kiosks shared by multiple airlines. "CUSS kiosks have technical challenges when handling carrier-specific inventory and financial data, such as encryption," Parkinson said. "To support individual payment connections for different airlines, CUSS kiosks require separate encryption keys for each carrier. This means they can run slowly, leading to delays for users."........

....."Over time, we might see fewer check-in kiosks as people have boarding passes on their phone or printed at home," Olea said. "The key will be ease of use. If it's extremely easy for the older generation to check in online or via mobile, they'll go that route. But kiosks can scan passports and biometrics, and do things such as print baggage tags and weigh bags that phones simply can't do. For those things, kiosks will still be king."

http://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/a...-kiosk-market/
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Old Jan 3, 16, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by 24left View Post
From 2008

"Various theories are being advanced to account for WestJet airline’s “extraordinary” action of removing credit card check-ins from self-service kiosks at airports across Canada.

....It’s a self-described “extraordinary step” after Visa and the Greater Toronto Airport Authority sent the company letters about possible fraud involving 150 terminals at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport.".....

...WestJet was the only one – of the 13 airlines that serve up boarding passes at the common-use terminals – to stop accepting credit cards. Air Canada didn’t follow suit, saying it feels comfortable the terminals are secure, despite the investigation."

http://www.itbusiness.ca/news/theori...-airport/11919


Also interesting article from 2014

QUOTES

"Many airport kiosks are CUSS — or Common Use Self-Service — kiosks shared by multiple airlines. "CUSS kiosks have technical challenges when handling carrier-specific inventory and financial data, such as encryption," Parkinson said. "To support individual payment connections for different airlines, CUSS kiosks require separate encryption keys for each carrier. This means they can run slowly, leading to delays for users."........

....."Over time, we might see fewer check-in kiosks as people have boarding passes on their phone or printed at home," Olea said. "The key will be ease of use. If it's extremely easy for the older generation to check in online or via mobile, they'll go that route. But kiosks can scan passports and biometrics, and do things such as print baggage tags and weigh bags that phones simply can't do. For those things, kiosks will still be king."

http://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/a...-kiosk-market/
I also recall the AC kiosks at Park N'Fly (YYZ) were thought to be compromised. Hardly ever see anyone use them.
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Old Jan 3, 16, 4:50 pm
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Originally Posted by 24left View Post
Sounds like an adventure i'd rather avoid.

I tried to use the kiosks a couple of times. One time, one kiosk rejected my passport and my Nexus card. Thus off to the SE line. OK, I'll admit that's not as bad as the non-priority lines. A second time, it timed out and a third time it ran out of paper. I have no idea who owns these kiosks or who is responsible for them, nor do I care.

I'm 0 for 3 regardless of the reasons, so I'm not playing that game again.


(I'm of the belief that technology is only great if it works, if it's fun and if it makes you rich - or all of the above.)


.
But, technology would only make you rich if it actually serves a purpose (works?)
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Old Jan 3, 16, 5:11 pm
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Originally Posted by AA_EXP09 View Post
But, technology would only make you rich if it actually serves a purpose (works?)
Or, as a friend suggested "you can get rich from technology that doesn't work"
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Old Jan 4, 16, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by 24left View Post
Or, as a friend suggested "you can get rich from technology that doesn't work"
Apple TV?
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Old Jan 4, 16, 9:58 am
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Originally Posted by flybit View Post
Apple TV?
Well, that too....but I meant the business of fixing the expensive stuff that wasn't working the way it was supposed to etc.

And then there is the time-waste factor. Understandably if one has to wait in the very long line to check-in and one sees an empty kiosk or two, well, it's tempting. It's the experience for some that is not optimal, or functional.

Have no fear, we'll get there.
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