Frequent travelers have likely experienced a dreaded check-in process that included a long line to visit the check-in kiosk. Even worse is finally getting to the kiosk, only to have the system freeze or crash. Alaska Airlines wants to change that by removing the check-in kiosk altogether and adding new technology.
What To Expect When Checking In At Alaska Airlines
Alaska Airlines is investing $2.5 billion to make the travel experience more seamless. Over the next three years, several airports will be getting an upgrade to make the check-in experience as brief as possible with the help of the traveler’s smartphones.
Travelers will be encouraged to download the Alaska Airlines app to check in and download their boarding passes on their personal devices. Travelers can also use a desktop computer to check in and either send their passes to their phones or print them before arrival at the airport. Checking in can be done up to 24 hours in advance. TSA PreCheck members can also add their known traveler numbers to the app.
On a side note, the Alaska Airlines app can also be used to pre-order meals up to 14 days before departure, select and change seats, and pre-pay for baggage. Travelers can also get travel notices via the app and change their reservations if needed.
What about tagging baggage? Instead of the check-in kiosks, bag tag stations using iPads will be available. Users can scan their boarding pass at the bag tag station, where they will get a printed tag to attach to their luggage. They can also pay for luggage at the bag tag stations if needed.
Once the tags are attached, travelers can drop off their bags with an agent at the Alaska Airlines counter. Most airports are anticipated to have these bag tag stations by the end of 2023.
In addition to the bag tag stations, the lobbies of Alaska Airlines hub airports will get new technology to make the baggage drop process a breeze. Machines will scan traveler’s faces, their government-issued I.D. and their baggage. The luggage will be taken to a belt and loaded onto the airplane. This is going to begin in the spring of 2024.
Alaska Airlines was the first to introduce the kiosk over 20 years ago, and it seems they will be the first to remove them from their check-in process. Instead, expect to do most of the check-in process ahead of time on a personal smart device while getting baggage tags at a bag tag station and then dropping off luggage onto a belt after going through a scanning machine. However, if a traveler needs assistance or doesn’t have a smartphone, customer service agents will still be on hold to help.