March 05, 2007

Kiosks Case Study -- Airline Check-in Kiosks have problems

Even self-service kiosks have their problems. Adding to the travails that the airlines have recently suffered, now there is the story that US Airways are having problems. Not the first time either. U.S. Airways is listed on the IBM site as one of their customers....

US Airways: Kiosk problem not solved

US Airways: Kiosk problem not solved

US Airways passengers were encouraged to check-in using the company's Web site while the airline continued to work Monday to repair malfunctioning check-in kiosks that created long lines and delayed travelers in some cities over the weekend.

The Tempe-based airline hoped to have the kiosks repaired by the end of the day, said US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant. "We're hoping," he said. "There probably won't be one silver bullet that we can find to fix everything."

Problems with kiosks in Charlotte, Philadelphia, Boston and Las Vegas began Sunday after the airline put a computerized reservation system in place, delaying some passengers for at least an hour and a half in Las Vegas and Charlotte, the airline's largest hub.

The system is a consolidation of the reservation systems of US Airways Group Inc. and America West Airlines, which combined in 2005.

Elise Eberwein, an airline spokeswoman, said passengers should check in for their flights online so they can avoid possible lines. The online check-in option was shut down for part of the weekend because of the system consolidation.

"One of the problems contributing to the problems yesterday was the Web check-in was unavailable," added Durrant. "Folks who are accustomed to doing that can do that again."

Durrant said there were flight delays Sunday but that US Airways flights were "running fairly on time" Monday. There were no cancellations, he said.

At Boston's Logan International Airport, lines were unusually long at US Airways' check-in counter on Sunday, but no flights departing Logan were canceled because of the malfunction, airport spokesman Phil Orlandella said.

Lines were somewhat shorter Monday as all US Airways passengers checked in with staff at the counter, rather than using the kiosks, Orlandella said.

"There have been no major problems -- it's just an inconvenience," he said.

Michelle Mohr, another US Airways spokeswoman, said the airline's Pittsburgh kiosks have not been working since Sunday morning, but that additional local staff had been assigned to help passengers and disruptions were minimal.

"We're putting some fixes into place," she said. "We're working night and day and have a team dedicated to bringing those kiosks back online."

US Airways is advising travelers to arrive at the airport two hours early for domestic flights, Mohr said.

Posted by staff at March 5, 2007 02:12 PM