December 27, 2011

IATA awards Abu Dhabi International Airport for fast travel

Abu Dhabi International Airport becomes first in the region to successfully complete IATA's new initiative

gulfnews : IATA awards Abu Dhabi International Airport for fast travel

Dubai: The Abu Dhabi International Airport received the golden award for Fast Travel from International Air Transport Association (IATA), becoming the first airport in the region to adopt IATA's latest initiative in response to growing passenger demands for more adequate and speedy travel procedures at airports.

The award was handed over by Tony Tyler, CEO IATA, to James E. Bennett, CEO of ADAC, with the attendance of various dignitaries from both organisations.
Fast Travel is a new program initiated by IATA geared at reducing airline costs and enhancing passenger experiences by offering a range of self-service options throughout the travel journey.

According to the 2009 IATA Corporate Air Travel Survey (CATS) conducted on worldwide passengers, 50 per cent of the passengers said they would prefer more self-service options to speed up their journey rather than queuing for check-in.

The IATA Fast Travel program will help airports provide passengers with self-service options in six main areas: Check-in, luggage drop-off (bags to-go), document checking, flight re-booking, self-boarding, and bag recovery.

IATA targeted five airport and airline pairs to implement the full Fast Travel set of initiatives as an IATA objective for 2011. Abu Dhabi International Airport offered to be one of the first 5 airports, with Etihad Airways as its pair, in the world to achieve the Fast Travel initiatives and successfully completed it within the deadline.

gulfnews : IATA awards Abu Dhabi International Airport for fast travel

Posted by CraigKeefner at 08:56 AM

September 19, 2011

DOT Seeks Websites and Kiosks Accessible to Disabled

“I strongly believe that airline passengers with disabilities should have equal access to the same services as all other travelers,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood.

DOT Seeks Websites and Kiosks Accessible to Disabled | Travel Agent Central

September 19, 2011
By: George Dooley
Travel Agent

A new regulation that would require airlines to make their websites accessible to individuals with disabilities and ensure that their ticket agents do the same, has been proposed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT also wants airlines to make automated airport kiosks at U.S. airports accessible to passengers with disabilities. U.S. airports that jointly own, lease or control such kiosks with airlines would also have responsibility for ensuring the accessibility of automated airport kiosks, DOT says.

“I strongly believe that airline passengers with disabilities should have equal access to the same services as all other travelers,” said DOT Secretary Ray LaHood. “The Department of Transportation is committed to ensuring that airline passengers are treated fairly, and today’s action is part of that effort.”

Under the proposed rule, airlines would be required to make their websites accessible to persons with disabilities over a two-year period. Websites would be required to meet the standards for accessibility contained in the widely accepted Website Content Accessibility Guidelines. The requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers with websites marketing air transportation to U.S. consumers for travel within, to or from the United States. Small ticket agents would be exempt from the requirement to have accessible websites, DOT said.

In addition, airlines and airports that use automated kiosks for services such as printing boarding passes and baggage tags would have to ensure that any kiosk ordered 60 days after the rule takes effect is accessible. Standards for accessibility would be based on standards for automated transaction machines set by the Department of Justice in its 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act rule.

This requirement would apply to U.S. and foreign carriers and U.S. airports that own, lease or control automated airport kiosks at U.S. airports with 10,000 or more annual boardings. The DOT proposal asks for comment on the cost and feasibility of retrofitting existing kiosks to make them accessible.

This proposal is the latest in a series of DOT rulemakings to implement the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA). In the ACAA rule issued in May 2008, DOT required carriers, among other things, to make discounts available to passengers with disabilities who cannot use inaccessible web sites and therefore must make telephone or in-person reservations.

Also, if passengers with disabilities are unable to use the kiosk because it is not accessible, carriers are required to provide equivalent service, such as having an airline employee assist in operating the kiosk, DOT says.

"However, these provisions do not give passengers with disabilities, especially those with visual and mobility impairments, independent access to the websites and kiosks, and in this final rule the Department committed to exploring how to make websites and kiosks accessible."

Comments on the proposal are due within 60 days of publication in the Federal Register. The proposal is available on the Internet at, docket DOT-OST-2011-0177.


DOT Seeks Websites and Kiosks Accessible to Disabled | Travel Agent Central

Posted by staff at 12:13 PM

September 11, 2011

Self-service kiosks simplify the airport experience

IBM Multichannel Self Service Solutions kiosks at Future Travel enabling smartphones, NFC and the "Q card".

Overhead Bin - Self-service kiosks simplify the airport experience

By Joe Myxter, travel editor
Reporting from Future Travel Experience 2011 in Vancouver, B.C.

Welcome to the airport. Now, go stand in line at the ticket counter to get your boarding pass. Once you’re through security, you’ll want to stop and check the departure board to make sure your flight is on schedule. Then, go find a map of the concourse so you can navigate your way to the gate, hunt for a café where you can score a decent cup of coffee, and try to find free Wi-Fi so you can double check the weather at your destination.

Or you can use a kiosk that can help you with all of those tasks.

IBM Multichannel Self Service Solutions' kiosk allows air travelers to check in, determine wait times for security and customs, check the time and weather forecasts, get a layout of the airport – including detailed directions – and find nearby restrooms, restaurants, lounges and coffee shops.

Smartphone users can scan a barcode and get the airport’s layout and directions on their mobile device.
And while it has not yet taken off in the U.S. – primarily due to TSA regulations – the kiosk is capable of printing out baggage tags for self-tagging.

IBM is displaying its latest kiosk at the Future Travel Experience 2011, but the company already operates nearly 6,000 airline kiosks and about 2,000 airport kiosks around the world. Many of the kiosks are capable of offering the aforementioned services.

IBM is also showcasing a “Q card” reader that Qantas Airways has unveiled as part of its next-generation check-in program.

The carrier’s system has found success among domestic flights in Australia. Qantas frequent fliers swipe their chip-embedded cards. The readers use near-field communication (NFC) technology, and the system takes as little as five seconds to check-in travelers without bags, and about 55 seconds for travelers with bags, according to Gabriella D’Alessandro, head of IT for Qantas Airways Operations.

Qantas launched its “faster, smarter check-in” initiative in June 2011. No other airlines have yet followed the airline’s lead.

But Simon Rucker, solution manager for IBM Global Business Services, anticipates travelers will continue to embrace high-tech options that make trips through the airport more efficient. “Adoption has been tremendous.”

Overhead Bin - Self-service kiosks simplify the airport experience

Posted by keefner at 09:40 AM

April 04, 2011

Technology Video - automating bags in Schipol

Schiphol is one of the top airports in the world (the 5th largest in Europe), handling approximately 140,000 pieces of luggage per day, sometimes reaching as high as 180,000, but that is apparently not enough. It has 21 kilometers of transport conveyors and 6 robots to move all of the baggage.

Posted by staff at 12:07 PM

November 15, 2010

Ariane Systems Unveils Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk Check-in/out

Paris & Montreal — November 10, 2010 — Ariane Systems, the world leader in self-service check-in/out technology for the hospitality industry, will officially debut its newly developed Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk check-in/out technology solution to the global hospitality industry at Equip’Hotel, being held in Paris November 14 to18.

Ariane’s revolutionary new technology, which will be piloted by Choice Hotels Scandinavia in the first quarter of 2011, has been in development for just over six months, since the European Regional Development Fund selected Ariane Systems’ mobile strategy to receive government financing, calling it “one of the most innovative research and development projects for 2009.” A Technical Advisory Board consisting of a select group of the top hotel companies in the world, including InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, Louvre Hotels, Choice Hotels Scandinavia and Rezidor Hotel Group, has since provided industry expertise and guidance to Ariane Systems toward the design and development of the project.

The flexible new Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk check-in/out technology solution allows hotel guests to check in and out, when and where they choose, on whichever web-enabled device they prefer. Whether from their personal computer, laptop/netbook, PDA, web-enabled cell phone, iPad or hotel kiosk, the check-in/out process is quick and efficient with Allegro, saving a substantial amount of time for guests while maximizing operational efficiency for the hotel. Additionally, Ariane Systems’ recently announced a partnership with OpenWays’ Mobile Key technology that adds the option to allow guests to bypass the traditional front desk completely, using a mobile phone to activate the door lock and gain secure access to their assigned room.

The solution’s flexibility also extends to payment options, allowing payment to be made via credit card or PayPal account, which benefits the hotel by collecting advance payment prior to the guest’s arrival.

“By leveraging the power of mobile and interactive technology, which is used by over 5 billion people worldwide, Ariane’s Allegro self-check-in/out solution is preparing the global hotel industry for future growth and opportunities,” said Laurent Cardot, CEO of Ariane Systems. “Hotels today are connecting with Generation Y through online- and mobile-enabled device communication and social networking tools, and that is laying the groundwork for new and improved hotel services, such as mobile concierge and keyless guestroom access. We are excited to be a part of this quantum leap in hotel technology and look forward to implementing our new solution at forward-thinking hotels around the globe.”

In addition to simplifying and streamlining the check-in process, Ariane’s Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk Solution also provides a flexible, scalable and customized platform for all communications with the guest. The Allegro system automatically detects the device being used during the check-in process and uses a “push mode” to send notifications to the guest through that same channel in the appropriate format, such as check-in confirmation, room number, maps/directions, special offers, etc. When a guest switches devices, Allegro dynamically adapts, ensuring a high level of continuity and further enhancing the overall guest experience.

A newly designed upsell module built into the Allegro platform acts as an integrated CRM system, providing the hotel with a unique method of introducing pre-check-in offers to the guest, which then automatically post to the guest folio and ultimately increase revenue for the property. Upsell options can include upgraded room types, wireless Internet, breakfast and other hotel-specific options, such as food & beverage, spas, golf courses, shops or casinos.

Other important benefits of the Allegro solution include the ability to interface with other hotel technology systems and with existing loyalty programs. By driving guests directly to the hotel’s branded website for booking and Internet check-in, distribution costs can be significantly reduced. Through integration with the hotel’s PMS, the check-in process is automated and data is collected for future use. When interacting with the Allegro system, guests may select their preferred language from 15 international language options that are built into the platform. Because guest preferences are stored and used to customize guest communications, the level of personal service can be increased and guest loyalty to the hotel and/or brand is maximized. The system can also be used to communicate with loyalty program members and increase signup and retention. This also generates increased brand awareness by enabling innovative mobile and web-enabled technologies desired by today’s tech-savvy travelers, and exceeding the loyal program member’s expectations by offering convenience, choice and control through the electronic check-in process.

Because Ariane’s Allegro solution operates in a web-based “Cloud” environment, it is considered environmentally responsible, and has the potential to earn LEED points for hotels and reduce the carbon footprint of the industry as a whole by creating a completely paperless communication platform.

The Ariane Allegro Online/Mobile/Kiosk Check-in/out Solution is compatible with iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Windows Mobile and Symbian (Nokia) cell phones, as well as all other web-enabled mobile devices and all carrier networks. Allegro is also compatible with all major key technologies, including mobile key, magstripe, smart and RFID card technologies.

For more information, please visit stand F44, Hall 2 at Equip’Hotel, at Paris Porte de Versailles, November 14 to 18, or contact Christelle Pigeat at Ariane Systems at +1 (514) 295 5944, email [email protected]

About Ariane Systems | Ariane Systems is the world’s leading provider of self check-in / check-out technology solutions for the hospitality industry. Founded in 1998 by Michel Lavandier and Laurent Cardot, Ariane now has over 1,600 installations running at hotel properties in 20 countries. Numerous hotel chains utilize Ariane’s electronic kiosk solutions to streamline the check-in/out process. These include Accor, B&B Hotels, Choice Hotels, Fasthotel, InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Capital’s Louvre Hotels, among others. With corporate headquarters based in Paris, France, Ariane Systems maintains regional offices in the UK, Germany, Spain, Benelux, Scandinavia, the Middle East and North America. For more information, please visit

Posted by staff at 01:38 PM

November 02, 2010

Advocacy group for the blind sues United Airlines over kiosk technology

United Airlines is being sued by advocacy group for the blind. The suit alleges that United is violating the California Disabled Persons Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act because the services it provides through these kiosks are not available to blind passengers.

Advocacy group for the blind sues United Airlines over kiosk technology -

By Roger Yu, USA TODAY

An advocacy group for the blind has sued United Airlines, arguing that the carrier's airport kiosks use touchscreen technology that cannot be used by blind passengers.

The National Federation of the Blind, the nation's oldest organization of blind people, and three blind individuals in California filed a class-action lawsuit Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Airline kiosks provide flight information and allow passengers to check in for flights, print tickets and boarding passes. The suit alleges that United is violating the California Disabled Persons Act and the Unruh Civil Rights Act because the services the airline provides through its kiosks are not available to blind passengers.

"United could easily add an audio interface, a tactile keyboard, or interactive screen reader technology that works with touchscreens to its kiosks, as other companies have done," it says, in a statement.

"The airline industry has an unfortunate history of discriminating against blind passengers, and now United Airlines is repeating that history by deploying inaccessible technology that we cannot use," says Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind. "Blind passengers must wait in long lines at the ticket counter, even when they have already purchased their tickets and checked in online."

Mike May, CEO of the Sendero Group, a manufacturer of technology for the blind, says "it is easy" for United to make its kiosks accessible. "There is simply no excuse for the long wait and inconvenience that other blind United passengers and I continue to experience at airports," he says.

Posted Nov 2 2010 12:28PM

United Airlines Discriminates Against Blind Passengers

Advocacy group for the blind sues United Airlines over kiosk technology -

Posted by staff at 12:09 PM

October 18, 2010

More travelers say they'd use kiosks and other self-serve technology

About 70% of travelers say they are ready to use self-serve devices to board planes, check bags, change flights, rent cars and book hotel rooms, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,500 airline passengers worldwide.

Travel, automated: More travelers say they'd use self-serve devices, survey shows -

By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times

October 18, 2010

Automation in the travel industry has soared in the last couple of years, but travelers seem to want even more.

About 70% of travelers say they are ready to use self-serve devices to board planes, check bags, change flights, rent cars and book hotel rooms, according to a recent survey of nearly 2,500 airline passengers worldwide.

That percentage is a sharp increase from 2009, when 58% of travelers surveyed said they were willing to use self-serve technology.

The results come from surveys taken at airports around the globe — including Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and London's Heathrow Airport — by SITA/Air Transport World Passenger, a Swiss company that specializes in technology and communications for the airline industry.

The survey signaled bad news for travel agents: Of the passengers surveyed, 74% booked their flights online.

But it offered good news for airlines that earn revenue by booking hotels and car rentals through their websites: Of those surveyed, 38% said they used airline websites to book hotels, up from 21% last year.

In addition, 35% said they used an airline website to reserve a rental car, up from 19% last year.

"The survey demonstrates that passengers are increasingly comfortable with using a variety of options, whether online, kiosk or mobile check-in," said Cathy Stam, a spokeswoman for SITA.

• Airlines roll out new flights to Mexico

When Mexico's oldest airline ceased operations in August, it opened the door for other Mexican and U.S. airlines to fill the demand for flights to and from the U.S.

Several major U.S. carriers didn't waste time stepping into the Mexican market.

Continental Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced several new flights to Mexico this month to fill the gap left when Mexicana Airlines filed for bankruptcy and shut down in August.

For example, Continental announced plans to fly a daily nonstop between Los Angeles International Airport and the airport at Leon, in Guanajuato state, beginning Nov. 1. Continental now serves 30 Mexican destinations, more than any other U.S. carrier.

And last week, United added a second daily flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City.

Delta plans to add new nonstop Saturday flights from Memphis to Mexico City starting in January.

It's no secret why airlines are rushing to serve Mexico......Read rest of article on

Posted by staff at 11:12 AM

August 07, 2010

Airline Check-In Kiosks added by Emirates in Dubai

Emirates in Dubai adds check-in kiosks for Terminal 3.

Passengers flying on Emirates now have more options for check-in when they travel, with the introduction of Self-service, Check-in Kiosks at three Dubai Metro stations.

Emirates’ customers can now enjoy the convenience of accessing their boarding pass and travel directly to Emirates Terminal 3 on the metro at Terminal 3 station, using the Self-service, Check-in Kiosks located at Mall of the Emirates, Burj Khalifa / Dubai Mall and Financial Centre metro stations on the Red line.

The service adds another level of efficiency to travel where Emirates’ customers can conveniently check-in, select their seats and print their own boarding pass, without waiting in line at the airport. Passengers only need the reservation code or the ticket number, or their Emirates’ Skywards membership number, to access the service. Check-in at the metro stations should be done at least two hours prior to the flight’s departure time, in accordance with Dubai Metro timings.

Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) regulations state that passengers are allowed to carry up to two luggage pieces each on the metro, provided the first piece does not exceed the size specification of 81cm in width, 58cm in height and 30cm in depth, and the second not larger than 55cm in width, 38cm in height and 20cm in depth. While passengers are required to manage their own luggage on the metro, upon arrival at the airport, those carrying only hand-luggage can proceed directly to immigration, while passengers with baggage can check-in their luggage at dedicated Baggage Drop counters.

Mohammed H Mattar, Emirates' Divisional Senior Vice President, Airport Services said: “Emirates is always looking at ways to add value and enhance the travel experience of our customers. Self-service check-in kiosks at some of Dubai's metro stations are an innovation that will allow Emirates' customers the convenience to access their boarding pass before they get to the airport.”

Mr. Mattar continued: “Emirates’ Airport Services team constantly challenges itself to find new ways to improve efficiencies and ensure passengers enjoy a stress-free travel experience and the high quality service for which Emirates is renowned.”

On arrival at Terminal 3, customers can also avail of a host of baggage services including a baggage wrapping service for luggage protection, and a Concierge service that includes porter trolley assistance.

Emirates introduces Self-service, Check-in Kiosks at selected Dubai Metro stations

Posted by keefner at 08:01 AM

July 28, 2010

Continental Airlines Self-Boarding

Writeup on SSW on buzz that the self-boarding experiment by Continental is generating. Our guess is there is someone from Continental there observing and ready to assist during the process.

Rest of articles

Airline's move to self-boarding a big blip on U.S. media radar

Christopher Hall editor
• 28 Jul 2010

Continental Airlines’ move to open flights from Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to self-boarding using self-service kiosks - a first for flights within the United States – has been pinging radars across the Internet.

First reported in USA Today, the move has been reported as far and wide as major media sites like The Huffington Post and MSNBC and more niche-oriented sites like The Consumerist and

According to the initial report in USA Today, travelers scan their boarding passes at a kiosk at the gate, opening up access to the jetway. A TSA spokesman told USA Today that the process "does not impact the security of the traveling public," adding that all passengers are screened at security checkpoints before getting to the gates anyway.

The practice apparently is fairly widespread internationally, with 14 airlines using self-boarding gates abroad. Aviation analyst Michael Boyd told the paper that the move was “a great idea,” and that reducing employee-customer human contact is a good thing, since gate agents now have more to do than ever before to get planes ready to go.

"As long as you have someone to tell grandma where to stick the paper," he told USA Today’s Roger Yu, "you're fine."

Reaction online, however, has been mixed at best, with MSNBC characterizing the move as “controversial” and talking to a former security director for Israel’s El Al Airlines who says self-boarding is a bad move.

Rest of articles

Posted by staff at 01:28 PM

March 23, 2010

December 04, 2009

Check your airline bags at Paddington

Nice option in London now for Delta, Finnair, Iberia and United Airlines passengers where they can check the baggage for the flight right at Paddington on the way to Heathrow. Closest US has to this is Disney options in Orlando.

London: Check your bags at a downtown kiosk - This Just In - Budget Travel

London: Check your bags at a downtown kiosk
Posted by: Sean O'Neill, Friday, Dec 4, 2009, 10:03 AM
One of Budget Travel's favorite flight innovations is lettting passengers check their bags downtown—before they get to the airport.

In many capital cities, travelers can drop checked luggage at bus or train stations and forget about it until they land at their destinations. Many passengers can check bags at Vienna's Wien Mitte station, Moscow's Kievsky Station, and Hong Kong Station.

Since Wednesday, London's Paddington train station offers an international check-in zone for Heathrow airport. Go halfway down platforms 6 and 7 and you'll find kiosks you can use to print out your boarding pass and drop your bags off.

To start, participating airlines include Delta Air Lines, Finnair, Iberia, and United Airlines. (For more info, visit

Best of all, you can check-in 24 hours in advance, so if you want to schedule a long layover in London, you now have added flexibility. Have an unexpected delay? Flat screens project live feeds of Heathrow's flight schedule.

America is lagging behind the world in this innovation, with no city currently offering the service. Las Vegas hopes to be the first. In the U.S., the best advance luggage-check option is at Walt Disney World: Guests staying at Disney lodging can check bags at their hotel before hopping on the free Magical Express ride to the Orlando airport.

Posted by staff at 10:35 AM

September 18, 2009

NCR Corporation partners with US Airways to extend self-service check-in convenience to the curb

US Airways is deploying 54 kiosks in 15 U.S. cities and St. Thomas, USVI to provide another curbside check-in option for passengers who choose to serve themselves.

September 17, 2009

US Airways deploys NCR TouchPort™ 80 kiosks in 15 U.S. cities and St. Thomas, USVI

image of unit

DULUTH, Georgia – NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR), a leading global provider of self-service solutions, today announced that US Airways is the first airline to deploy the NCR TouchPort 80, a self-service kiosk that supports passenger check-in at outdoor locations. US Airways is deploying 54 kiosks in 15 U.S. cities and St. Thomas, USVI to provide another curbside check-in option for passengers who choose to serve themselves.

“We know that our passengers want quick and easy check-in methods when they travel,” said US Airways’ managing director, Customer Strategy and Planning, Tim Lindemann. “With the NCR TouchPort 80 curbside locations our customers now have one more self-service option for checking-in, reducing the time they spend in line.“

Designed to withstand inclement weather and fluctuating temperatures, the NCR TouchPort 80 is water resistant and employs an integrated thermoelectric device to heat and cool the unit. NCR self-service check-in kiosks are deployed in more than 300 airports worldwide.

“With a focus on customer interactions, NCR is able to bring best practices from banking, retail and other industries to bear on the travel environment,” said Theresa Heinz, vice president and general manager, NCR Travel and Gaming. “By extending the self-service convenience to travelers outside of the airport, US Airways is further differentiating itself among increasingly discerning consumers who expect to serve themselves how, where and when they choose.”

About NCR Corporation
NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR’s assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR ( is headquartered in Duluth, Georgia.

About US Airways
US Airways, along with US Airways Shuttle and US Airways Express, operates more than 3,200 flights per day and serves more than 200 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America. The airline employs more than 33,000 aviation professionals worldwide and is a member of the Star Alliance network, which offers its customers more than 17,000 daily flights to 916 destinations in 160 countries worldwide. And for the eleventh consecutive year, the airline received a Diamond Award for maintenance training excellence from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its Charlotte, North Carolina hub line maintenance facility. For more company information, visit

# # #

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

News Media Contact

Caroline Rose
NCR Corporation
[email protected]

Posted by staff at 11:46 AM

December 29, 2008

Check-In Kiosks Unable to Rebook

The kiosks for Delta are unable to handle rebookings so during the recent holiday crunch when flights were cancelled, passengers could not use the kiosks and ended up having to stand in lines.

A Delta spokesman said the long lines — caused by a crunch of travelers stranded by the previous day’s inclement weather, the post-Christmas holiday rush and some problems at check-in kiosks — had been greatly reduced on Sunday because of additional personnel both at curbside and in the airport.

“Today we’re better prepared,” said Delta’s Anthony Black. “We have more staff.”

The weekend after Christmas, one of the most heavily-traveled, lived up to its billing Saturday as bad weather from the Midwest to New York created departure delays as much as three hours.

That added to headaches that started earlier Saturday for some Delta customers who were forced to stand in lines to talk to agents because quick check-in kiosks would not process their tickets.

The kiosks did not work for flyers who had left the gates because their flights were canceled or they missed their connections. When they tried to re-enter, the system became confused because it did not expect them to be at a different starting point and would not process their information, Black said.

Delta officials were working to correct the problem, he said.

Posted by staff at 04:03 PM

November 28, 2008

Airport Check-In Kiosks - Dubai International

Passengers using self-service kiosks at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 check-in their luggage, choose their seat and get their boarding passes – all in less than two minutes. [pictures]

The 60 self-service kiosks are apart from the 180 regular manned check-in counters at the swanky terminal which opened on October 14.
“I’m surprised something like this is here and the long queues usually seen at the check-in counters are gone,” said Asif Memon, 28, a real estate executive flying to Karachi on Tuesday. He was sent off by his sister Mahinoor and her two-year-old daughter Faleha to a self check-in kiosk.

The kiosks are smart enough to work on their own and flag down a luggage if it exceeds the IATA-mandated maximum weight of 32 kg, but few airport staff is on hand to guide first-time users.

More miles

“This gives me more time to shop at the Duty Free,” said Sana Tayem, a Lebanese civil servant in Dubai, after using the self check-in kiosk for a flight to Beirut.

What surprises many people is that using the kiosks also earns them extra air miles, and first-time users vow they will avoid manual check-ins next time.

Mohammad Harb, who runs a lingerie manufacturing business, was surprised to know about the extra 500 Skywards air miles he got for using it.

Despite these enticements, less than five per cent of outbound passengers use them.

Mohammed Mattar, senior vice president of Airport Services of Emirates, said he expects more people to use self-service kiosks.

“This is a huge facility, but we’re off to a smooth start. We’re working to ensure passenger experience improves with time. We make no excuses for mistakes. Now there’s a solution to avoid long queues at check-in counters,” he said.

Only one luggage per passenger is allowed for kiosk users at the moment.

“Many European and North American airports offer self-service kiosks too but not in the scale Terminal 3 has done,” said Mattar.

He said they are working with aviation authorities in other countries, such as the US and India, requiring advance passenger information (API), to allow the use of self check-in facilities to scan passengers’ passports and other procedures currently done manually by staff at regular counters.

Emirates Airlines moved all its flights to Terminal 3 on November 11 - less than one month after the $4.5-billion airport first opened - starting with Gulf and North American flights.

In the first five weeks operation, more than half million people flew out of terminal three but only 20,500 have used the self-service kiosks (including the 6,800 who checked in baggage).
How self check-in works

Passenger must go to one of the 60 self check-in counters: 36 counters in economy class and 24 counters in first and business class. Only one case is allowed (weight depends on destination airport); no oversized baggage.

Self check-in can be done in three different ways: a) Skywards card [Emirates loyalty programme], b) e-ticket and c) bar code [paper ticket].

Passenger’s booking details appear after kiosk scans ticket bar code or Skywards card. He selects a seat.

Passenger must say yes/no to security-related questions (similar to an online affidavit: Is this baggage yours? Did you pack it yourself? Are you sure the contents don’t violate any laws?).

Kiosk asks passenger to place luggage on conveyor belt (maximum allowable weight is 32kg, passengers bound for UK are only allowed a maximum of 23kg in each bag, while it is 40kg for Nigeria-bound passengers).

Passenger takes boarding pass and luggage tag from one kiosk (passenger must attach tag on luggage himself).

Get claim stub from the tag to use in claiming luggage at destination airport.

Passenger goes to any of the 52 immigration counters and 12 e-Gate counters.

If changes in ticket details are not updated and if passenger is using the old paper tickets (no bar code) self-service kiosks can’t be used.

Posted by staff at 08:23 AM

July 25, 2008

Followup - Security concerns at airport kiosks

TORONTO — The possibility that self-serve kiosks at Toronto's Pearson airport were targeted by credit card fraudsters left passengers wary Thursday while at least one expert said it's not surprising an airport would be targeted given the dramatic rise in credit fraud.

"When people think of airports they think of highly secure, security focused environments," said Michael Geist, a University of Ottawa law professor specializing in Internet and privacy issues.

"So the notion that in that very environment you could have a significant security breach, many would find troubling."

On Wednesday, Calgary-based WestJet (TSX:WJA) announced it would prevent passengers from using credit cards at check-in kiosks at airports across the country.

The decision was made after financial institutions reportedly began investigating isolated fraud incidents stemming from the use of credit cards to obtain boarding passes from kiosks at Pearson International Airport.

WestJet has cautioned against pinning the blame solely on the kiosks until the investigation is complete.

Incidents of credit card fraud in stores and at bank machines have grown dramatically and if follows that an airport would also be a target, said Geist.

It's worrisome to have highly sensitive information along with other identifying information entered into a self-serve kiosk, he added.

"The potential use or misuse of this data could be widespread."

Although passengers enter sensitive data, such as home address and a passport number, into Pearson's kiosks the Air Transport Association of Canada said the breach only involved credit card information.

Passenger name records, or PNRs, are not maintained on the system of the kiosks but sent to mainframe databases off-site, said spokesman Michael Skrobica.

Wary travellers at Pearson opted Thursday to use Aeroplan cards or passports instead of credit cards to check in at kiosks.

"It makes you stop and pause," said Steve Levinsky.

"Passports are a better way to go than credit cards."

Joel Campbell used a kiosk to grab his boarding pass for a flight to Saint John, N.B.

"I'm a little bit hesitant to put my credit card into anything," said Campbell as he plugged in his Aeroplan card.

"I think it's a little bit weird, a little bit unusual to check in with your credit card."

Pearson's scare has airports across the country paying attention.

Kevin Molloy of the Vancouver Airport Authority said the entire airport community has its ear to the ground.

"In our busy kiosks, we're visiting five, six, seven, eight times a day to ensure the kiosk hasn't been tampered with," said Molloy.

In Toronto, Carissa McKeown, who was heading to Thunder Bay, Ont., was tempted to use the kiosk but ended up leaving the computer screen and heading for the check in line.

"I guess it could happen anywhere when you use a credit card," she said about the possible fraud.

"It's a shame. You think with an airline you'd be more safe since most people book their flights on credit cards."


Posted by staff at 06:38 AM

July 23, 2008

Security - Toronto Airport Kiosks Being Investigated

An investigation of suspected credit-card fraud at Toronto's Pearson airport is now concentrating on the security of its 150 self-service check-in kiosks. If true then it would be in the software and IBM is the software provider. IBM could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

An investigation of suspected credit-card fraud at Toronto's Pearson airport is now concentrating on the security of its 150 self-service check-in kiosks.

In recent months, financial institutions that issue credit cards spotted isolated fraud patterns that appeared to stem from use of the cards in conjunction with getting boarding passes at the Pearson kiosks, according to sources.

While the investigation is in the early stages, it is currently focused on the kiosks, where passengers use passports, frequent-flier cards, reservation numbers, names, and/or credit card data to identify themselves for flights on any one of 13 airlines. It is not known whether any information has actually been stolen or otherwise gone astray.

Some members of the financial industry are very concerned because Pearson is Canada's busiest airport, with 31.5 million passengers travelling through it last year.

One person familiar with the investigation said the fact that personal data at airports might not be secure "should send shudders through every airport traveller."

Privacy breaches are serious issues for the financial community, which stepped up its monitoring and reissued a plethora of credit cards last year after hackers broke into the databases of U.S.-based retailer TJX and stole credit- and debit-card information affecting millions of consumers around the world. Credit-card details and other personal data are extremely valuable information for criminals, who can use it to make fraudulent purchases or steal identities.

There are 150 self-serve kiosks at Pearson. The physical machines are owned by the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the not-for-profit corporation that manages the airport.

While it owns the kiosks' hardware, it has a licence with technology companies that manage the flow of information to the airlines and back.

"We don't see the information, we just pass it back and forth," Scott Armstrong, a spokesperson for the GTAA, said Monday. "And that's been audited and that's working the way it's supposed to and our network is secure and it's been checked out very, very recently," he said.

"Visa has done some investigating, and we're working with them," he added. "And that's not specific just to Pearson, that's just a standard thing. Apparently they have an investigations wing and they like to make sure things are working the way they're supposed to.

"I don't know what prompted their questions, but our kiosks have proven to be working exactly as they're supposed to," he said.

Visa Canada spokeswoman Tania Freedman said, "We're investigating isolated reports of fraud, and we're working with airport officials to investigate the situation."

American Express spokeswoman Lauren Dineen-Duarte said, "We're aware of the situation and obviously monitoring it very closely."

MasterCard spokeswoman Julie Wilson said the company could not "confirm any specifics regarding this case."

Copies of July 11 letters sent by GTAA chief information officer Gary Long to two technology companies that are involved with the kiosks - ARINC Inc. and SITA Inc. - were obtained by The Globe and Mail.

They state that Visa is investigating the use of credit cards at the kiosks in Toronto, and that the GTAA has referred the card company's investigators to ARINC and SITA for further inquiry.

"We request that you provide your full co-operation to the VISA investigators and if your systems are found to be insecure, the GTAA requires that you implement immediate remediation measures," Mr. Long wrote in the letters.

"As the GTAA takes seriously the possibility of credit card fraud which may be occurring at Toronto Pearson, we have also advised the 13 airlines on the ARINC and SITA ... platforms at Toronto Pearson of the VISA investigation and have requested them to contact VISA and to co-operate in their investigation."

Doug Love, the GTAA's general counsel, sent a letter to the 13 airlines that said: "... We are very concerned about the potential repercussions of this situation should the travelling public lose faith in the security of the credit card system at Canadian airports, or should the credit card companies and/or card issuers take steps to advise people to stop using credit cards for check-in at Canadian airports. I am therefore writing to you to encourage your full co-operation with VISA Canada and other credit card companies and to take the necessary steps to resolve this matter as quickly as possible."

Mr. Love's letter said that because the GTAA only owns the kiosks' hardware, the airport authority does not interact with information passing between the machines and the airlines. "Accordingly, it is only the airlines, ARINC and/or SITA who can provide the necessary information to Visa Canada to conduct its investigation, and only these companies that can provide the appropriate remedy should any of their systems be found to be insecure."

Catherine Mayer, vice-president of airport services at SITA, said the company had no comment.

Linda Hartwig, a spokeswoman for ARINC, said that ARINC and SITA are master systems integrators that link the airlines' networks to the system. "We're kind of the glue that holds it all together," she said. "We don't have any content in the kiosks ... All we can do is kind of help anybody that needs it. The software is not ours."

Ms. Hartwig said that IBM is the software provider. IBM could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

Peter Fitzpatrick, a spokesperson for Air Canada, said "We take matters such as this seriously in all aspects of our business and we will support this assessment as necessary, to the fullest extent we can."

Other airlines that use the kiosks are Air France, Air Jamaica, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines Inc., Jazz Air, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and WestJet.

A spokeswoman for the federal privacy commissioner said on Monday that her office had not yet been made aware of the situation.

Each of the credit-card companies noted that cardholders are not responsible for any fraudulent purchases made with their cards. The banks or financial institutions that issue the cards are responsible for those costs.

Sophisticated monitoring and fraud-detection systems typically keep card fraud to slightly more than 0.1 per cent of total sales volume, Visa has said. It developed statistical tools, referred to as neural networks, that monitor purchases and identify unusual spending behaviour that could point to fraud.

source link

Posted by staff at 12:13 PM

July 15, 2008

User Experiences - airline check-in at Jet Blue

jetblue-kiosk-120.jpgNice writeup on check-in experience with airline check-in kiosk.

My Ugly Experience with the JetBlue Kiosk

As I write this, I'm waiting for my connecting flight to New York on the way to Berkeley for the workshop on Integrating Computing into the Statistics Curricula. I'm taking JetBlue, which I normally only have good things to say about, but right now I'm very displeased with their service. Here's why I might consider a different airline next time and the design lesson I got out of it.


Checking in at the Kiosk

Most are familiar with the cluster of kiosks that let people check in themselves via touch screen. Kiosks eliminate the need to go thru the slow person at the desk who types with his index fingers, has to look for each letter, and then look back up at the screen to see if he typed the letter correctly. Needless to say, I love the kiosk.

So naturally, I went straight to the kiosk to check-in. I bypassed the long line of thirty or so people waiting to check in with the desk lady. There were zero people at the cluster of 10 kiosks. I figured the kiosks were left unused because an initial small group of people lined up for manual checkin, and then a bunch of people followed. That tends to happen a lot, no?
When Check-in Went Awry

The kiosk did what it was supposed to do just fine. It scanned my barcode, I confirmed, and I got my boarding pass.

The kiosk then asks, "Do you have bags to check?"

"Yes, I have one."

"Okay. After you take your boarding pass, plop your bag at the baggage drop-off."

"Got it. Thanks, kiosk."

This is when Jet Blue dropped the ball. I patiently walk to the side of the stupidly long line and wait for the next desk lady to free up. I walk up to her, with boarding passes in hand, and innocently ask, "Do I just drop my bags here?"

She glares at me and sneers, "You weren't next."

"No, but I just checked in at the kiosk," I said while showing her my boarding passes.

"No, I don't think you were next." She directed her eyes and voice to the front of the line while pointing her finger at me. "Was this guy standing in front of you? Was he the next in line?"

"No, I wasn't. I checked in at the kiosk."

Once again, she snarled, "We don't have bag drop off here. You have to wait in line like everyone else!"

I then rolled my eyes, thought nasty thoughts and went to the back of the line. After about 10 seconds, I decided that my face wash is not a liquid and brought my bag as a carry-on as I walked towards my gate.

The Data Viz Lesson

I suppose if I were that desk lady, and I thought I was dealing with a cutter I'd be mad too. Although, from a customer service standpoint, she didn't have to be such a witch about it. If I were that person at the front of the line watching some guy "cut" in front of him, I would be mad at me too.

It all comes down to that kiosk. If there's no bag drop-off, don't offer it. Don't show it to me or dangle it in front of my face. Be clear. Similarly, when you visualize data, pay close attention to detail, because oftentimes it's the small things that can lead to big misunderstandings.

source link

Posted by staff at 02:26 PM

May 21, 2008

Airport Security - Global Entry Program for Schiphol, JFK, Dulles & Houston

airport_iris_scanner.jpg Premiered yesterday during Dutch/US signing is new global entry program managed by Dartagnan. This is coordinated entry program for Schiphol, JFK, Dulles, and Houston (IAH) airports expected to go fully global. [Video] [image]

Video link on right side of page

Global Entry™

* Global Entry is a USA program for international registered travelers
* Operated by Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
* A voluntary, fee-based program for pre-screened (trusted) travelers
* Fast-track automated border crossing initially piloted in Houston, JFK T4 and Dulles Washington Airport. Other US airports to follow
* Fingerprint/face image captured/stored in single national US database.

Global Entry

Global Entry is initially for US citizens who frequently travel abroad. Via IET it will become accessible to other national citizens.

* Applicants submit biographic details and fee via CBP Global Entry website
* CBP undertake initial vetting check
* Successfully vetted applicant invited to Global Entry enrolment centre for biometric capture and finalization of application (interview with Government official)
* Global Entry member can use fast-lane immigration kiosk upon arrival in the USA
* Background check status regularly updated to ensure member remains trusted

Posted by staff at 08:33 AM

May 15, 2008

Self service kiosk research - airline passenger survey

SITA’s second annual survey examines passenger perspectives of the self-service experience and trends in air travel.

Key Findings

  • Online booking actual usage is up overall since 2006 – Confirming that booking via the Internet is becoming the norm, the proportion of travelers that purchased their tickets online for flights on the day they were questioned
    – ie actual usage – rose from 47% in 2006 to 49% in 2007.

  • There is a preference for online booking when passengers know it’s available – Across the three airports surveyed, the ratio between people who knew online booking was available and used it against those who did not is 70:30 (64:36 in 2006), indicating a distinct preference for the online option when passengers know of its availability.

  • Rising concerns on Internet security – The 2007 survey highlights an increased lack of trust in the Internet, coupled with negative perceptions of web security. The percentage of passengers who knew they could self-book but didn’t use the online option for that reason almost doubled from 7% in 2006 to 12% this year. This links to results from the 2007 Airline IT Trends survey which showed that ‘lack of payment security and risk of fraud’ is the number one business issue that airlines associate with online travel sales.

  • 93% of passengers surveyed are positive towards booking online in the future – Nine out of 10 passengers interviewed in London Heathrow and Hong Kong and almost 97% in Atlanta reported that they would use online booking engines in the future.

  • More bags checked-in as security tightens – A particularly noteworthy outcome of the 2007 PSS is the increasing proportion of people that had to check-in one or more bags for their flight. Overall, nearly 83% of the
    passengers interviewed had to check-in at least one bag for their flight, with a 7% increase at London Heathrow from the 2006 survey and an 8% increase in Atlanta.

  • Self check-in: growing adoption – The survey highlights a sharp jump in the actual use of self check-in options at those airports – up overall from 23% last year to 30% in 2007, with business/first class travelers opting for this facility more than their leisure counterparts.

  • Baggage is still the number one reason respondents don’t use self check-in – Baggage is once again cited by passengers as the top factor for declining self-service check-in, with a marked rise from 19% in 2006 to 24% in 2007, according to passengers who said it was available.

  • An encouraging sign on remote bag drop services – It is encouraging to note however that the remote baggage drop concept – which liberates the passengers through enabling a total off-airport check-in process – is greeted with considerable enthusiasm among travelers, especially in Hong Kong (70%) and Atlanta (64%) with a lower result for London Heathrow (42%).

  • Online bookers use web check-in more – Online bookers know much more about self-service check-in and use it more frequently than passengers who didn’t reserve their flights via the web. This finding is even stronger in 2007, with 71% (compared to 60% in 2006) of those who frequently book online actually using self-service to check-in, compared to 38% of passengers that did not book online using self check-in.

  • New in 2007 PSS: Mobile phone check-in – While mobile phone check-in is still in its infancy and unfamiliar to most air travelers, the 2007 PSS aimed to gauge attitudes to this new technology. In Atlanta, 63% expressed a positive attitude to mobile phone check-in, compared to 48% in Hong Kong. In contrast, 69% of passengers interviewed at London Heathrow were unfavorable to its adoption.

  • Most passengers welcome self-service expansion – There is a marked increase in the number of travelers who would utilize kiosks for lost baggage notification – up from 40% in 2006 to 50% this year, while nearly 80% of participating passengers are positive towards registering for a notification service dispatching flight information such as flight delays or gate change. Also, both surveys report that two thirds of respondents are favorable to using kiosks for transfer purposes.

May 13, 2008

Airline Check-In : Is CUSS Dead?

Interesting to see whitepaper from one of the major airline check-in vendors exploring the possibility that CUSS is dead. In the whitepaper they examine impact of internet check-in on CUSS. The CUSS initiative does seem to have stalled in the US. The Airport authorities haven't bought into them (no need to and not enough incentive from IATA) and the airlines are not known for being extravagant especially in these days and times of jet fuel.

Will Internet Check-in Replace CUSS Check-in?

Will Internet Check-in Replace CUSS Check-in?
Check-in applications at airport
WEB browsers
Is CUSS dead
The answer

Will Internet Check-in Replace CUSS Check-in?

Check-in applications at airport

There has been some interest recently in using airline Internet check-inpplications at airports. The proponents of this approach to self service argue that Internet check-in is familiar to passengers and that Internet kiosks are easy to deploy and less expensive than Common Use Self Service CUSS kiosks. But does this mean that Internet check-in will replace CUSS check-in at airports?

Back in the late 90’s self service applications were built using so called “fat client” technology. These early applications were graphically rich with attractive screens that included movies in an effort to entice passengers to use self service. Now that passengers have come to expect (even demand) self service, they are looking for applications that help speed them through the airport. As a result many airlines are moving to a “leaner” application architecture with simple, straightforward graphics that are intuitive and faster. In fact, many applications (including SITA’s PassengerFastcheck) are using WEB browsers to render the application on both dedicated and CUSS kiosks.

WEB browsers

There are several advantages to using a WEB browser architecture for airport self service applications. First, airlines can make business process and branding changes in a timely and cost effect manner. Since application logic is held in a central server, application changes are made only to that server. With the old “fat client”
architecture, business logic was held at each remote kiosk. When business process and
branding changes were made, they had to be deployed to each remote kiosk. This is an
expensive and time consuming process. The second significant advantage of using WEB
browser architecture is the reduction in cost and time for CUSS integration testing by the CUSS Platform Provider and the Airline Application Provider. CUSS Platform Providers perform CUSS integration testing whenever the kiosk software image changes significantly. This ensures that the CUSS Platform is robust and application errors
cannot endanger the common use environment.

Is CUSS dead?

With all these advantages for Internet check-in does it mean that CUSS is dead? Will Internet Check-in replace CUSS? … Not really!

And the reason is that Airport Self Service is different than offsite Internet Self Service. The business processes and the target passenger market are somewhat different. With all the advantages for Internet check-in does it mean does it mean that CUSS is dead?

Internet check-in applications are built for use at home or for other locations where transaction time is not critical. They typically include a number of optional business processes like flight status or shopping for flights, hotel and car rental.
They are written for mouse and keyboard navigation so they tend to have “busy” screens that passengers can read through at their leisure. The typical transaction time for Internet Check-in is 4 to 6 minutes. Since these applications are written for passengers to use at home many airlines establish a 3 hour cut off window beyond
which a particular flight is no longer available for Internet check-in. In addition some carriers treat Internet check-in like an Advance Boarding Pass.

The application prints a document that allows you to go airside but the passenger is required to “check-in” again at the gate to get a real boarding pass. Airlines use this process to reduce the number of no shows and increase the time available to handle denied boarding for oversold flights. Airport check-in applications, on the other hand, are built to “eat the peaks”. Airlines use kiosks to reduce the number of staff required to process passengers during the morning and/or evening peaks. That is why today’s best practice applications have sparse graphics with large buttons that simplify navigating the application using touch screens. Since the business process is time bounded, applications are written for speed and intuitiveness with the typical check-in transaction taking a little over a minute to perform.

Airport self service applications handle business processes that Internet check-in applications do not need to handle. Processes like “buddy seating,” standby for earlier flights, irregular operation (IROP) re-ticketing or re-flighting, selectee functionality and baggage processing. As a result of these processes airport check-in
kiosks tend to include passport readers, magnetic card readers, bar code scanners,
biometric devices and in some countries bag tag printers. That is why they are more expensive.

The access to these devices in a common use environment is via IATA’s RP 1706 CUSS
standard peripheral support. While proprietary methods can be implemented, the use of the IATA CUSS standard will, over time, reduce the cost of airport check-in application development and deployment.

Successful Passenger Self Service at airports requires a partnership of airline and airport.

The answer

So the answer to the question “Will Internet Check-in Replace CUSS Check-in?” is that we need to apply technology appropriately to achieve a business value. Internet check-in can and does have a role to play in the passenger journey. But the processes that today’s Internet Check-in Applications handle are only part of the business processes that airlines use to process passengers at airports. This will continue to progress over time as evolving technology and business process design enhances the airport self service experience with ... Passenger Self Tagging … Passenger Document Check … Passenger Self Boarding.Successful Passenger Self Service at airports requires a partnership of airlines and airports. Each aware of the other’s business process imperative, and each ready to work cooperatively to make the environment efficient, cost effective and hassle free.

Posted by staff at 10:49 AM

March 11, 2008

Latin American Airline Check-In Kiosks

New check-in kiosks for Continental Airlines in Latin America. The kiosks utilize Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) technology, which allows different airline applications to run concurrently on a single self-service device. The kiosks also feature an integrated bar code imager, to help enable easy customer identification, as well as an integrated passport reader to cater to international travelers.

NCR Self-Service Kiosks Now Serve Continental Airlines Travelers at 13 Airports in Latin America

NCR Self-Service Kiosks Now Serve Continental Airlines Travelers at 13 Airports in Latin America

DAYTON, Ohio — Self-service check-in kiosks from NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) are now providing added convenience and flexibility to Continental Airlines customers at 13 airports throughout Latin America.

"Continental is dedicated to providing a high level of customer service that continues to establish us as a leader in the airline industry," said Jared Miller, director of Customer Self-Service, Continental Airlines. "Deploying NCR's self-service technology to our locations throughout Latin America extends the benefits of self-check-in already enjoyed by customers in the United States."

Continental has installed the NCR kiosks in Acapulco, Mexico; Bogota, Colombia; Cali, Columbia; Mexico City; Guadalajara, Mexico; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; Monterrey, Mexico; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Belize, Belize; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Panama City, Panama; and Managua, Nicaragua.

NCR self-check-in kiosks utilize Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) technology, which allows different airline applications to run concurrently on a single self-service device. The kiosks also feature an integrated bar code imager, to help enable easy customer identification, as well as an integrated passport reader to cater to international travelers.

NCR will also provide preventive and hardware maintenance services to help assure consistent service delivery and product uptime throughout Continental's locations.

"Increases in tourist arrivals and expenditures continue to make Latin America a top ranking tourist market. As tourism increases, so does the need to provide travelers with an efficient and hassle-free airline check-in experience," said Michael O'Laughlin, NCR vice president for the Caribbean and Latin America. "Leveraging our experience as the U.S. market leader in air travel kiosk technology, NCR is providing Continental with proven innovation that allows them to offer convenience and time savings to their customers traveling around the world."

About NCR Corporation

NCR Corporation (NYSE: NCR) is a global technology company leading how the world connects, interacts and transacts with business. NCR's assisted- and self-service solutions and comprehensive support services address the needs of retail, financial, travel, healthcare, hospitality, gaming and public sector organizations in more than 100 countries. NCR ( is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

NCR is a trademark of NCR Corporation in the United States and other countries.

Posted by staff at 01:16 PM

March 04, 2008

Software snafu delays United's Leap Day check-ins

Leap Year causes United Airlines check-in kiosks to go down. Officials say it was a software issue. Who does the software for UA kiosks anyway. I've been meaning to learn that...

Software snafu delays United's Leap Day check-ins -

CHICAGO (AP) — Passengers using United Airlines' "Easy Check-In" found it anything but that on Leap Day when the automated system crashed, resulting in longer lines.

The nation's No. 2 carrier blames the service interruption on software issues related to the leap year.

Spokeswoman Megan McCarthy says customers were still able to check in online and with customer service agents but not at Easy Check-In kiosks for several hours. She says the units are now back in service.

McCarthy says no flights were delayed and the Chicago-based airline apologizes to customers for any inconvenience.

She says United didn't have any such problems with the software on Leap Day four years ago.

Posted by staff at 04:09 PM

November 21, 2007

Airline Kiosks Exposing Private Details?

united_kiosk.jpgNice expose by TV station in Oregon that figured out that United Airlines kiosks are only parsing first initial and last name name on the credit card that is swiped and then calling up all names that match. I've Been Meditating on who does the kiosks for United....

PORTLAND, Ore. - Kiosks are meant to speed up the check-in process at the airport, but security experts say they could be open doors for terrorists to hide their identities on U.S. jets.

Our investigation began when a frequent flyer on the nation's third-largest air carrier, United Airlines, wrote to KATU News explaining how easy it would be for someone to get their hands on someone else's boarding passes using the airline's kiosks.

We wanted to see if the claim was real, so we headed to Portland International Airport with a hidden camera to find out.

Using a credit card belonging to KATU Photojournalist Brian Smith, we found what we were looking for in no time.

Just by slipping his credit card into the kiosk and punching in his name, we had access to 21 different Brian Smiths flying United Airlines. We could have chosen any flight we wanted to on the list and printed the boarding passes using someone else's identity.

rest of story link with pictures

Posted by staff at 11:39 AM

September 06, 2007

Airline Check-In Kiosks

Didn't take long for the acquisition of RTE for their scanners to show up in 3M passport line....With more than 6,000 kiosk readers already installed, 3M and 3M Rochford Thompson are the leading providers of travel and identity document readers for the kiosk market place. The new 3M Kiosk Full Page Readers and 3M Kiosk ePassport Readers are designed specifically for integration into the latest generation of Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) kiosks and automated gates.

3M Showcases New Passport Scanner for CUSS Kiosks Just One Month after Acquiring Airline Specialists Rochford Thompson

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (BusinessWire EON) September 4, 2007 -- With the ink barely dry on its recent acquisition of Rochford Thompson, 3M will use Check-in 07 at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino to showcase a new generation of full page document scanners for kiosks.

This product launch and the recent acquisition of Rochford Thompson both highlight 3M's commitment to the airline industry in addition to our well-established markets of passport issuance and border control.
With more than 6,000 kiosk readers already installed, 3M and 3M Rochford Thompson are the leading providers of travel and identity document readers for the kiosk market place. The new 3M Kiosk Full Page Readers and 3M Kiosk ePassport Readers are designed specifically for integration into the latest generation of Common Use Self-Service (CUSS) kiosks and automated gates. Used to facilitate the check-in process for airlines, hotels and car rental agencies, as well as to automate identity processing for frequent travelers and at automated border control points, the new readers will offer the combined technical capabilities of 3M and Rochford Thompson in a much reduced footprint. This size reduction is especially important for the latest designs of counter-top kiosks.

Product features include:

* Compact and lightweight design
* Rapid, full-page image capture
* Machine-readable zone data extraction
* Support of both passports and ID cards
* Barcode reading
* Easy-to-use, ergonomic design
* Optional automatic e-Passport reading (regardless of chip location in document)

Commenting on the new products, Rich Sanders, business manager, 3M Security Systems Division stated, “This product launch and the recent acquisition of Rochford Thompson both highlight 3M’s commitment to the airline industry in addition to our well-established markets of passport issuance and border control.”

For a demonstration and further information, please visit the 3M Rochford Thompson booth (Number 12a), Sept. 5 – 7, 2007, at Check-in 07, Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Las Vegas.

3M brings more than 30 years of experience, a global presence, technical innovation and a strong customer focus to the secure document marketplace. 3M solutions cover a broad spectrum of enhanced travel and border security, including document issuance and border management.

3M Rochford Thompson has been at the forefront of secure document creation, inspection and scanning for over 30 years. Using its own continuously developed digital imaging technology, the company delivers scanning solutions for passports, visas, ID cards, airline tickets and credit cards. Customers include governments, airlines and travel companies, major global corporations and companies in the finance sector.

About 3M - A Global, Diversified Technology Company

Every day, 3M people find new ways to make amazing things happen. Wherever they are, whatever they do, the company’s customers know they can rely on 3M to help make their lives better. 3M's brands include Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti. Serving customers around the world, the people of 3M use their expertise, technologies and global strength to lead in major markets including consumer and office; display and graphics; electronics and telecommunications; safety, security and protection services; health care; industrial and transportation. For more information, including the latest product and technology news, visit

Scotch, Post-it, Scotchgard, Thinsulate, Scotch-Brite, Filtrete, Command and Vikuiti are trademarks of 3M

Posted by staff at 04:19 PM

August 28, 2007

Paper Airline Tickets About To Go Into History

GENEVA (Reuters) - The global airlines body IATA said on Monday it had placed its last order for paper tickets, clearing the way for air travel to be based entirely on electronic ticketing from June 1 next year.

"In just 278 more days, the paper ticket will become a collector's item," said Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the International Air Transport Association.

The changeover from paper would not only cut airlines' costs by $9 for every traveller but would also mean the industry—criticized by environmentalists for its part in global warming—would save 50,000 mature trees a year, he added.

Bisignani did not say whether the $9 in cost savings would or should be passed on to passengers.

Based in Geneva, IATA represents more than 240 airlines which operate 94 percent of scheduled international flights.

Non-IATA airlines, mainly low-cost carriers like the Irish Ryanair and the British Easyjet, already have a paper-free ticket system where travellers are registered in computers and present only an identity document at check-in.

IATA launched its drive for so called "e-ticketing" just over three years ago and now 84 percent of travellers on IATA carriers fly without paper tickets.

The airlines body says China, one of the fastest-growing markets for air travel and host to next year's Olympic Games, is heading to be the first country in the world to operate an entirely paper-free ticketing system by the end of this year.

Source Article

Posted by staff at 07:58 AM

May 10, 2007

Registered Traveler More Convenient than ever

Registered Traveler has deployed enrollment kiosks at two Hyatt Regency properties, one in Santa Clara and the other in San Francisco to bring convenience and speed in applying for the airport fast pass program to the city's business travelers. The Clear registered traveler program allows business travelers and other frequent fliers to pay a fee to be pre-screened by the TSA and receive a biometric identity card that provides them with expedited passage through airport security checkpoints.

Clear(R) Registered Traveler Opens Enrollment Units in Bay Area Hyatt Regency Hotels

NEW YORK, May 8--Clear(R) Registered Traveler has deployed enrollment kiosks at two Hyatt Regency properties -- in Santa Clara and San Francisco (Embarcadero) -- to bring convenience and speed in applying for the airport fast pass program to the city's business travelers. The enrollment locations will be open weekdays from 7am-7pm and will be staffed by Clear attendants in the hotels' lobbies beginning today.

Clear allows business travelers and other frequent fliers to pay a fee ($99.95) to be pre-screened by the TSA and receive a biometric identity card that provides them with expedited passage through airport security checkpoints.

With over 45,000 members, there are five airports with Clear fast pass lanes, including the San Jose International Airport program which launched three months ago and now has nearly 5,000 members. Other locations include Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Orlando International Airports, and JFK Terminal 7, with programs at Newark Airport and two new terminals at JFK about to launch. Albany, NY and Little Rock, AK airports recently selected Clear for their programs, which will become operational soon. In addition, San Francisco, Washington Reagan and Washington Dulles are expected to launch registered traveler programs this summer.

Holly Ivy, Vice President, Client Solutions Group of Ovation-Lawyers' Travel Service said, "We're delighted that Clear has constructed enrollment centers at convenient locations for our clients who have told us they want to enroll their travelers in this time saving, fast pass program. It's terrific that they'll now be able to take advantage of Clear's national network, which is already operational in San Jose and other cities, and we're thrilled that San Francisco International plans to add a registered traveler program later this year."

As Clear's first hotel partner, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has partnered with Clear to provide complimentary memberships to Hyatt's Gold Passport Diamond Members since February 2006.

"Clear is an extension of our customer service offerings for our guests. As we have done at the Grand Hyatt New York in midtown Manhattan, we are now allowing Hyatt guests and area residents in the San Francisco Bay Area the convenience of enrolling in Clear right on our premises," said Tom O'Toole, Senior Vice President for Strategy and Systems for Global Hyatt Corp.

"The convenient location of Hyatt hotels in the Bay Area, and our ability to bring kiosks onsite because of our terrific partnership with Hyatt, means enrollment in Clear will be even easier," said Steven Brill, CEO and founder of Clear. "We reacted quickly to the feedback that we received from agencies such as Ovation and area law firms, tech companies, and others with frequent travelers. And, in some cases, we are bringing enrollment kiosks directly to their offices."

Those wishing to enroll at the Hyatt locations are asked to begin the enrollment process at before visiting the Clear enrollment centers. To complete the process, applicants must bring two pieces of government-issued ID (passport and driver's license are strongly recommended) to the hotels' lobbies during the designated hours - now through June 1.

About Clear(R) Registered Traveler

Verified Identity Pass's Clear Registered Traveler is the only registered traveler program operating at U.S. airports. Clear has been operational since July 19, 2005, at Orlando International Airport and has over 45,000 members. Earlier this year, Clear launched additional lanes at JFK's British Airways Terminal 7 and San Jose, Indianapolis and Cincinnati International Airports. Clear will begin operating programs at JFK's Terminal 1 and 4 and Newark's Terminal B soon. In addition, Clear has been selected by Albany International Airport and Little Rock National Airport for programs at those airports, and the company also has an agreement with Toronto Pearson International Airport to operate a Canadian program, working with Canadian authorities. Clear's verification kiosk with shoe scanning technology, co-developed with Verified Identity Pass's partner GE, will allow members, in most instances, to keep their shoes on as they pass through the Clear lanes at the security checkpoint. For more information:

Posted by staff at 02:08 PM

New Case Studies Released

Five new case studies released including Amtrak, SITA CUSS, ISI Gaming, Army Internet Gaming, and Vanguard Car Rental check-in.

Case studies published by KIOSK in Colorado and links are here:

Posted by staff at 12:41 PM

April 23, 2007

KIOSKS Case Study -- Registered Traveler kiosk software

Daon, a global provider of identity assurance software, is playing a critical role in Verified Identity Pass, Inc.'s Clear® Registered Traveler program by supplying the central biometric identity management platform that allows Verified to easily incorporate new biometric devices, such as the kiosks developed by L-1 Identity Solutions, Inc.

The Clear® program allows frequent fliers who are pre-approved to be positively identified at the airport through biometric technology. These passengers go through expedited security screening at specially designated lanes in participating airports. Registered travelers pay a small fee, provide background information and are issued a biometric identification card.

According to Clear founder and CEO Steven Brill, "Daon's technology has performed excellently, providing flexibility and security to the program. Clear is based on providing the highest quality to the traveler and airport. This focus on quality is what drove us to make a long-term commitment to Daon."

In June 2005, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority awarded a contract to Verified Identity Pass, Inc. and Lockheed Martin to design and manage a pilot Registered Traveler program. Dubbed Clear by Steven Brill, founder of Verified Identity Pass, the program began lane operations at Orlando International Airport on July 19, 2005. Daon provides the biometric management system - which is the heart of the central processing system at the Lockheed secure data facility located in Orlando. With over 40,000 members today, Clear operates lanes at five US airports with several others expected to launch this year.

"We have worked as a partner to Verified Identity Pass and their Clear® Registered Traveler program since the beginning," commented Tom Grissen, CEO of Daon. "We are excited about recent expansions of the program and see incredible revenue potential for Daon and its partners. With the growing security concerns at airports, the registered traveler program offers a sensible way to ease congestion at security checkpoints and allow the TSA screeners to focus on the real threat, while providing a valuable benefit and added convenience to the program participants."

About Clear® Registered Traveler

Verified Identity Pass's Clear Registered Traveler is the only registered traveler program operating at U.S. airports. Clear has been operational since July 19, 2005, at Orlando International Airport and has over 40,000 members. Earlier this year, Clear launched lanes at JFK's British Airways Terminal 7 and San Jose, Indianapolis and Cincinnati International Airports. Next month, Clear will begin operating programs at JFK's Terminal 1 and 4 and Newark's Terminal B. In addition, Clear has been selected by Albany International Airport and Little Rock National Airport for programs at those airports, and the company also has an agreement with Toronto Pearson International Airport to operate a Canadian program, working with Canadian authorities. Clear's verification kiosk with shoe scanning technology, co-developed with Verified Identity Pass's partner GE, will allow members, in most instances, to keep their shoes on as they pass through the Clear lanes at the security checkpoint. For more information:

About Daon

Daon is a leading provider of identity assurance software products focused on meeting the needs of governments and commercial organizations worldwide. Daon supports customers and system integrators in building enterprise solutions requiring the highest level of security, performance, scalability, reliability and privacy. The DaonApplicationSuite provides a powerful tool for faster development of scalable, robust and secure identity registration and vetting solutions. Daon's multi-modal authentication infrastructure, DaonEngine, integrates seamlessly with IT platforms and applications and manages the identity life-cycle of small and large populations. Daon's offices are located in Washington DC, Canberra, London and Dublin. For further information please visit


Cheryl W. Waldrup, 703-984-4040
[email protected]

Source: Daon

Posted by staff at 10:19 AM

March 12, 2007

KIOSKS Security - Registered Traveler Stumbling?

Chicago Tribune notes some of the problems that are cropping up in the Registered Traveler programs which include all types of kiosks. It will make the program more efficient and better in the future.

Registered Traveler plan stumbles | Chicago Tribune

Registered Traveler plan stumbles

By Jane Engle
Tribune Newspapers: Los Angeles Times
Published March 11, 2007

Here's the hope: You pay nearly $100 and undergo a background check to become a Registered Traveler. Then you zip through airport security.

Here's the truth: You may save time, but you'll still have the hassle because many features of this new program don't yet work. And that raises this question: Is Registered Traveler ready for prime time?

My experience in San Jose, Calif., six days after the program made its West Coast debut on Jan. 23, suggests it's not--at least not yet.

On my visit, special lanes for Registered Travelers were open for business. But no one was using them because the enrollees were still waiting for access cards.

Check-in kiosks to prescreen members were open too. But the shoe scanners and explosives detectors weren't activated, so members had to go through the same security process as everyone else, removing coats and shoes and taking laptops out of bags.

The much-delayed program, overseen by the Transportation Security Administration but run by private vendors, is going nationwide after 18 months of testing in Orlando. It is enrolling thousands of members and gaining momentum, but problems also abound. Among them:

- Card delays. In San Jose, an encryption glitch in processing applications delayed delivery of enrollees' cards, which they need to log onto the kiosks, said Steven Brill, who heads Verified Identity Pass Inc. in New York, a start-up company that runs the program in Orlando, San Jose and several other cities. (Enrollees have since begun receiving cards.)

Meanwhile, in Orlando, more than 30,000 members are being issued new cards because the old ones wouldn't work at other airports.

- Limited availability. At present, only airports in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New York (JFK), Orlando and San Jose operated Registered Traveler; Newark, N.J., was starting enrollment. At some sites, not all terminals participate.

- Industry opposition. The Air Transport Association, an airline trade group in Washington that once advocated Registered Traveler, now says the program diverts limited TSA resources from more broadly focused screening efforts. The association has lobbied airports against adopting it.

Los Angeles International Airport is among the sites that have held off implementing the program. Airport officials have cited the transport association's arguments and a lack of space for new checkpoint lanes.

- Privacy concerns. The American Civil Liberties Union sees "substantial privacy and civil liberties problems" with Registered Traveler, said Timothy Sparapani, the group's legislative counsel for privacy rights. He said the program might rely on flawed databases to evaluate applicants.

The TSA has said it will keep the data secure and provide a system for applicants to resolve disputes over eligibility.

- Customer confusion. Most of the nine San Jose fliers I interviewed about the program had only a vague idea of what it was.

And each Registered Traveler vendor assigns its own name to the program, adding to the obscurity. Verified Identity Pass Inc. calls it Clear ( Unisys, a technology company in Blue Bell, Pa., that plans to launch its version by mid-March at Nevada's Reno-Tahoe airport, calls it rtGO (

Some fliers said they either quickly navigated security without special access or had adapted to the hassle.

Other regulars, such as David Sapoznikow, a market researcher from Seattle, said their elite frequent-flier status already entitled them to use special security lines at some airports.

But a couple of San Jose travelers expressed enthusiasm after I described the program.

"I'd sign up for it in a heartbeat," said Kurt Richarz, a technology salesman from Boulder, Colo., who flies twice a week. "If you save 30 or 40 minutes, it's worth it."

Big companies are looking into it, too, at least for key employees. While I was at the airport, a representative of Google was touring the Clear kiosks.

Caleb Tiller, spokesman for the National Business Travel Association in Alexandria, Va., which represents about 2,700 corporate travel managers and providers, said demand for the program had been "really high" in Orlando.

Dismissing start-up glitches as "hiccups on the way," Tiller predicted that hundreds of thousands of travelers would eventually sign up as the program spread to more airports, making it "exponentially more valuable."

In an interview, Brill of Verified Identity Pass Inc. defended his decision to roll out Registered Traveler before all the technology was approved.

"If you build a house," he said, "wouldn't you install the Internet lines before you get a computer?"

He added that his company was working closely with the TSA to obtain needed clearances.

Predictability is the key, he added.

Rest of story

Posted by staff at 06:52 AM

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 02:12 PM

January 05, 2007

Airport & Check-In Kiosks -- Intellicheck Announces Orders in PR

Intelli-Check announces new deployment of drivers license devices being used by Alamo and National in their self check-in kiosks for car rental kiosks. The order reflects another 200 kiosks being deployed to these particular customers.

Intelli-Check Announces Multiple Purchase Orders for Its ID-CHECK(R) Technology from KIOSK Information Systems, Inc.

January 04, 2007 09:00 AM Eastern Time
Intelli-Check Announces Multiple Purchase Orders for Its ID-CHECK® Technology from KIOSK Information Systems, Inc.

-Successful Airport Pilot Program for Leading Brands National Car Rental and Alamo Rent a Car Results in Planned Deployment of Self Service Check-In Kiosks in Many Airport Locations-

WOODBURY, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Intelli-Check, Inc. (AMEX: IDN) announced today that it has received its second order totaling over two hundred of its ID-CHECK systems from KIOSK Information Systems, Inc. to be integrated into National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car self service check-in kiosks at multiple airports. Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. is the operator of the National and Alamo brands.

The orders were placed by KIOSK after National and Alamo completed an extensive pilot program at three airports proving the successful operational performance of Intelli-Check’s ID-CHECK technology. Based on the solid integration and outstanding field performance of the ID-CHECK system, National and Alamo have announced plans to roll out the self-service check-in solution at many other major airports nationwide.

Mr. Todd Liebman, Senior VP of Marketing & COO of Intelli-Check, stated, “This order is another example of how ID-CHECK can increase both productivity and security in retail applications where speed and ID proofing are paramount. We have other pilot programs in various stages of testing. We believe that each successful pilot that leads to a phased roll out reinforces our conclusion that Intelli-Check’s proprietary technology is a vital link to both increased security and greater productivity. We also believe that each success will reduce the long sales cycle we have encountered in the past. We are very optimistic that successful pilots, such as those done at National and Alamo airport locations, will continue to create business opportunities for Intelli-Check over the next few years.”

Jerry Dow, Chief Marketing Officer of Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc., said, “We have been very pleased with the way our customers are embracing the new technology, a first in our industry, as well as the service and support provided by Intelli-Check Inc. and Kiosk Information Systems.”

About Intelli-Check, Inc.

Intelli-Check, Inc. is the acknowledged leader in technology that helps assure the authenticity of driver licenses, state issued non-driver and military identification cards used as proof of identity. Our patented ID-CHECK technology instantly reads, analyzes, and verifies the encoded data in magnetic stripes and barcodes on government-issue IDs from approximately 60 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada to determine if the content and format is valid. For more information, please visit

About Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.

As operator of the National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands, Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc. comprises one of the leading car rental companies, with more than 3,200 locations in 83 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe, the Caribbean, Latin America, Asia, the Pacific Rim, Africa, the Middle East and Australia.

About KIOSK Information Systems (KIOSK)

KIOSK Information Systems is the world leader in design, manufacturing, service and support of indoor and outdoor kiosks, public Internet stations and other electronic self-service informational terminals. KIOSK is the OEM manufacturer of self-service terminals for Dell, Hewlett Packard, Sony Photo, US Transportation Security Administration and many others. KIOSK corporate clients include McDonalds, Ticketmaster, FedEx, Safeway, Citibank, Disney, Exxon Mobil, US Postal Service and Wal-Mart, as well as numerous government agencies and universities. KIOSK has facilities in Louisville, CO and Falkirk, Scotland, UK. Major vertical product markets include Retail, HR, Government, Photo and Digital Media, Voting, and OEM kiosk services.

Intelli-Check Safe Harbor Statement

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. When used in this press release, words such as "will," "believe," "expect," anticipate, "encouraged" and similar expressions, as they relate to the company or its management, as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the company's management identify forward-looking statements. Our actual results may differ materially from the information presented here. There is no assurance that the use of ID-CHECK technology by our potential customers and partners, or government efforts to enhance security or curtail the sale of age-restricted products to underage buyers will lead to additional sales of ID-CHECK technology. Additional information concerning forward-looking statements is contained under the heading of risk factors listed from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. We do not assume any obligation to update the forward-looking information.

Intelli-Check, Inc.
Frank Mandelbaum, CEO, 516-992-1900
Wolfe Axelrod Weinberger Assoc. LLC
Stephen D. Axelrod, CFA, 212-370-4500
[email protected]
Alisa D. Steinberg, 212-370-4500
[email protected]
Fax: 212-370-4500
Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.
Charles L. Pulley, 918-401-6450
Director, Corporate Communications
[email protected]

Posted by staff at 01:21 PM

December 30, 2006

Video Broadcast Services and Self-Service Kiosks

DirecTV is opening a kiosk in Denver International Airport for pushing its services. It appears to be that the typical mall kiosk will be the outlet not an electronic self-service kiosk. There has been talk about using these services in pay-for-use unattended terminals where captive audience can spend some time (and money).

source link

DirecTV to distribute programming in Denver International Airport
Los Angeles Business from bizjournals - 11:05 AM PST Thursday

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DirecTV Inc. has signed a multi-year agreement with the Denver International Airport to be the sole provider of programming in select areas of the airport, the company said Thursday.

Terms of the agreement, which will make DirecTV programming available to travelers waiting for their flights, were not disclosed.

The company will hold a launch event today to celebrate the opening of its first airport retail kiosk in Concourse B of the Denver International Airport. The kiosk will showcase DirecTV's high definition and DVR services, and passengers will be able to sign up for residential and/or commercial business services from DirecTV at the kiosk.

Denver International Airport is ranked the tenth busiest airport in the world and served more than 43.4 million passengers in 2005.

El Segundo-based DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) is a satellite television service provider with more than 15.6 million customers.

Posted by staff at 09:25 AM

November 30, 2006

Airline Security -- new kiosk unveiled by GE

VerifiedSRTKiosk-90.jpg The much anticipated Registered Traveler program just moved a little further along. The program, which allows travelers to pay extra money to go through screening faster than other travelers by pre-registering themselves with a DHS background check and biometric and identity information on file, has been in a pilot process as technology and policy for its management was created.
Information, Assessment and Community

Updated: November 30th, 2006 10:16 AM EDT
A New Kiosk for Air Security, as Registered Traveler Moves Forward
GE kiosk gets 'Cleared' as Regist and GE demonstrate new identification and sensor kiosk

GE Security unveiled its full-featured kiosk for the TSA Registered Traveler program. The GE kiosk is being used with Verified's Clear program (the TSA Registered Traveler program is managed at the individual level by private companies, but overseen by the TSA).

GE Security unveiled its full-featured kiosk for the TSA Registered Traveler program. The GE kiosk is being used with Verified's Clear program (the TSA Registered Traveler program is managed at the individual level by private companies, but overseen by the TSA).

The much anticipated Registered Traveler program just moved a little further along. The program, which allows travelers to pay extra money to go through screening faster than other travelers by pre-registering themselves with a DHS background check and biometric and identity information on file, has been in a pilot process as technology and policy for its management was created.

On Friday it was clear that progress had indeed been made, as the Transportation Security Administration announced that it is setting an annual fee of $28 to handle background checks for Registered Traveler participants.
As if that wasn't progress enough for the program, GE Security today unveiled a new technology kiosk that could be used as part of the program.

The company's technology launch was that of its Secure Registered Traveler (SRT) kiosk, which it was unveiling at the National Safe Skies Alliance Symposium in Washington, D.C. The kiosk had been tested as part of the Verified's Clear program, one of a few private businesses that provide the Registered Traveler services. Clear, the only one currently TSA approved -- though many others are close behind in the process to become TSA approved -- currently has 32,000 customers registered who pay roughly $100 per year for the privilege to move more quickly through security.

Read rest of story

Note: this is the "verification" iteration of kiosk. There is also the "enrollment" version of this kiosk as well.

Posted by staff at 12:49 PM

November 28, 2006

Case Study - Biometrics Trial at Heathrow

Nice background on current trial going on at Heathrow for biometric check-in via miSense for flights to Hong Kong and to Dubai. The intent is to simplify the process but it seems there are still manual intervention steps/contacts within the process.

Heathrow kicks off 'fingerprint fast-track' security checks
By John Lettice
Published Monday 27th November 2006 16:23 GMT

The Telegraph reveals ( that the UK government is plotting fingerprinting of air passengers as a matter of routine, to check the identity of departing passengers and to tighten up border controls for incoming. Which, given the firmness of the regime's plans for ID cards, is scarcely news in the long term - but in the interim, turkeys are apparently being asked to volunteer for Christmas, now.

A trial at Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport was announced in August, but the moisturisers of death ( panic kind of wiped it off the front pages. miSense ( is being run for Heathrow flights with Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong or Emirates to Dubai, and is voluntary, the intention being to "simplify your journey through the airport while maintaining high standards of security." Passengers scan their passport photo page and give a single fingerprint at the miSense check-in kiosk, and this data is used for identity verification during travel.

It's not immediately obvious what the basic miSense system simplifies for the traveller. After entering the data you can use the kiosk to check in, as you might do with any 'normal' automated check-in kiosk, and then just before you get to security control you can use your fingerprint to go through the "miSense automatic security gate", after which you can go to, er, "airport security as normal." But presumably the miSense security gate is a priority lane. On boarding, again you get to go to a special desk to be fingerprinted, but at least you get priority boarding.

Is it the apparent pointlessness of this process that has induced the organisations involved to crack straight on with miSenseplus? This enhanced version started on 6th November, just weeks after the basic miSense kicked off, and links immigration in the UK, Hong Kong and the UAE to produce "an international automated fast track passport control service." Essentially, it's an experimental pre-vetting system that is intended to use biometrics to nail down the ID of travellers the system 'knows' are safe, and it overlaps with, or more likely is, Project Iris, an iris-recognition pilot being run for frequent fliers in the UK, and intended to have been rolled out to ten airports by December.

Ah, but who's in charge here? miSense, the "collaboration between airport authorities, immigration services and industry", or UK immigration? At the miSenseplus enrolment office "an immigration officer will check your passport and direct you to the miSenseplus enrolment area", where you will sign a consent "for your personal and biometric details to be used to conduct criminality checks." miSenseplus collects ten fingerprints, facial image and iris scans of both eyes, whereas as Project Iris was intended to confine itself to iris, but it would be entirely unsurprising if it turned out that Project Iris' (voluntary) take-up had been negligible, and that miSenseplus had been co-opted in order to produce a reasonable data set.

For what it's worth, Project Iris was intended to be evaulated after the full roll out had been completed in December, whereas the miSenseplus pilot runs until 31st January.

The carrot for the upgraded service is more tempting - fast track clearance on entry and exit. And the stick? Bizarrely, despite collecting all that other biometric data, miSenseplus ( still only seems to use right index finger for recognition, as with the basic service.

So the rest is for...? Practice collecting the complete set of biometrics the UK currently wants (apparently we don't want gait ( - yet) will be helpful for the Home Office, as will practice checking the data against police and government records. The data gathered "will be held in confidence and stored securely by the UK Immigration Service for the duration of the trial", and only "officers of the border control agencies of the United Kingdom and named employees of the technical maintenance businesses operating miSense and miSenseplus will have access to this database."

Except to the extent that "the data you provide may be checked against databases held by other UK Government departments and agencies for evidence of criminality. The results of searches against these databases may affect your ability to continue to participate in the trial but will not affect your right to travel." Yum. Furthermore the data "may also be disclosed to other government departments and agencies, local authorities and law enforcement bodies to enable them to carry out their functions, including the prevention and detection of crime." So what was that about only border control officers and miSense techies having access? And isn't it a bit weird that the border control people in Hong Kong and Dubai aren't mentioned? What are they supposed to be checking the prints against?

If significant amounts of data sharing with other agencies does take place, then it's difficult to see how it could all be retrieved in order for miSense to honour its commitment to destroy all personal information gathered at the end of the trial period. However, given that that the UK's capabilities for performing fast checks of biometrics against records are extremely limited (they could be checked against police fingerprint records, asylum seeker records and biometric visa records, but probably not at any great velocity), there probably won't be any systematic checking in this pilot.

Nor, given the shortness of the trial period (6th November to 31st January) is it likely that the pilot will generate any credible data for security purposes. How many people will be flying to Hong Kong or Dubai more than once in that period? Some, certainly, but not many will be making the trip enough times to make it worth the bother of signing up.

So what's the point of the pilot? As we said at the outset, it's certainly not news that the UK government intends to check everybody's biometrics on the way in and out, so the point isn't to gather data to decide whether or not it's a good idea, but to hone the collection and reading processes and to get travellers used to them. Of course, if you're going to present this kind of exercise as a simplification and speeding up of processes for the passenger's benefit, then it would make a certain amount of sense to run a pilot for long enough for more than a handful of people to actually benefit. But in the long run it doesn't matter, because in the long run you have no choice.

The group running miSense consists of Accenture, BAA, Cathay-Pacific, Emirates, the Home Office, IER (airport ticketing), Raytheon Systems, Sagem Défense Sécurité, and SITA, and the list of associate members ( adds further to the heavyweights piling into a very small pilot. Raytheon is providing programme management and technical oversight, and proudly boasts ( that along with Accenture, it was responsible for the US-VISIT programme. Former UK government CIO Ian Watmore, who now heads the Prime minister's delivery unit, and Identity & Passport Service chief executive James Hall, are both ex-Accenture. ®
Related stories


Posted by staff at 08:19 AM

November 26, 2006

Self-service kiosk deployment -- JFK & Clear Registered Traveler

British Airways plans to launch the Clear Registered Traveler program at Terminal 7 of John F. Kennedy International Airport this fall and market the program to its North American customers. The agreement makes BA the first airline to market the program and JFK the first airport in the New York area to have the security pass program.

Clear will use mobile kiosks to enroll British Airways corporate clients who travel overseas regularly from Terminal 7 JFK.

Business Travel Executive

Posted by staff at 08:45 PM

Self-service Kiosk Reviews -- Airline Check-in

It must be that we are seasoned self-service check-in and check-out experts but it definitely can be annoying when employees invite themselves into a process in order to explain it (and perform it) for us. The person below suffers that fate.

At the airport. Again. (Again.) - Letters home

At the airport. Again. (Again.)

* Nov 26, 2006 at 3:05 PM

I'm heading back to DC after a few days at home for the holiday. Twas a very nice visit ... more on that later.

But here I am, back at the airport. And apparently, I look like a yougin' who's never flown before. I was checking myself in at the kiosk, getting my boarding pass, etc. I've flown quite a bit in the last several months. I've got this down pat.

But this time, a woman working for the airline came over to help me part-way through.

I thought she was friendly at first, but I found myself flustered and annoyed with her by the end of our exchange. She proclaimed that I needed to select my seat, and before I had a chance to tell her I'd already done so, she'd punched this and that and navigated the screen to the seat selection feature. "Where do you want to sit?" I pointed to the green seat and said, "Isn't that me?"

From there, it was just amusing. Turns out, I have to check in with a different airline when I get into Philly, since I'm flying the first leg on U.S. Airways and the second on United. That's perfectly fine. I have a two-hour layover. No problem. But after she checked -- repeatedly -- with another woman working behind the counter, she proceeded to explain to me -- repeatedly -- that I'll need to check in with United in Philadelphia. I really wanted to say, "Yes, I caught that about 5 mintues ago." (Subtext: "Thank you, I'm not deaf. Or 12.")

She finally turned me loose, and I was on my way.

I guess I look terribly incompetent today. I'm wearing jeans, tennis shoes, and a sweatshirt. Hmm.

Posted by staff at 07:45 PM

November 26, 2005

CUSS and Airline Transportation Check-in Kiosks

Writeup on kiosks and the CUSS standard and how it does and doesn't impact kiosks.

Original story on Kioskmarketplace

Does CUSS keep it simple?
by James Bickers, editor 21 Nov, 2005

The ATM, arguably the most successful and society-changing of self-service devices, is effective chiefly because of its interconnected nature: For example, you dont have to be a U.S. Bank customer to use a U.S. Bank ATM. You might have to pay a fee for the privilege, but the machine will still work for you.

Now, consider the check-in kiosk at the airport. It too has changed customer behavior in a remarkably short period of time. But airline kiosks remain largely proprietary in order to check in, you need to use the kiosk provided by your airline. For the most part, they do not play well with others.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry advocacy organization founded in 1945, wants to change all that, and its working hard to make a standard for interoperability, the Common-Use Self Service (CUSS) kiosk standard.

The race for a standard

The IATA is still at work on the CUSS standard; according to a fact sheet published by the association, it aims to have interface standards codified by the end of 2005.

On a theoretical level, it remains to be seen whether airlines will even want such a standard. One view of the check-in kiosk is that it is a prime differentiator when it comes to service having different kiosk platforms enables the airlines to compete in terms of usability and convenience, with repeat customers perhaps opting to fly with the carrier whose self-service system is the best.

IATA representatives say that cost savings are prime factors it estimates that CUSS will save airlines $2.50 per check-in. According to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, approximately 74 million people flew during the year 2003, and 12 percent of them used a check-in kiosk. So IATAs estimate represents a potential savings of $22 million per year.

CUSS also represents a shift in ownership when it comes to kiosks. McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, for instance, owns and operates 42 CUSS kiosks under its SpeedCheck program. According to a news release, the airport plans to deploy 100 more by the end of 2006, becoming "the first airport in the country to feature a fully integrated, multiple-airline, common-use check-in system."

So now, airports and their operating authorities are potential buyers of ticketing systems, not just the airlines.

But opinions are divided on whether CUSS is the right answer for a unified standard if, in fact, a unified standard is needed at all.

"Today, if you are a self-service provider without a CUSS-compliant solution, then you may as well check out of the market because the future of (airline) self-service centers around this integral efficiency," said Karly Sorenson, marketing and public relations director with Kinetics, a subsidiary of NCR Corp. Kinetics services 14 of the 16 major domestic airlines. "CUSS is remarkably important because as more and more airlines deploy self-service kiosks, the more crowded airport facilities will become."

CUSS kiosks, although arguably better for the end-user, are still in the minority, though.

"Bear in mind that kiosks operating in a CUSS mode are not that many," said Craig Keefner, channel manager for Kiosk Information Systems. He pointed out that even at McCarron, airlines operate their own proprietary kiosks in addition to the airport-owned CUSS models.

Indeed, the IATA Web site explicitly states that even if an airline takes part in a CUSS program, theyre free to keep their existing proprietary systems in place:

" there is no mandate from the IATA Board of Governors on the use of CUSS. The policy for CUSS is that where it makes operational and commercial sense to do so, airlines are encouraged to investigate the viability of operating their self-service kiosk product in a shared (CUSS) environment. Where there is true common use in a given airport terminal and there is no dominant carrier, then the business case is strong; where there is a dominant carrier of e.g. 80%+ of the traffic, then the business case becomes marginal."

In other words, airlines are free to do what they want, and it will fall to the IATA to convince them that CUSS is in their best interest.

"I think CUSS standards will have more and more impact, but I think its important to remember that in some ways, CUSS is a proprietary system," Keefner said. "Open systems utilizing the latest technology, manufactured economically, are the ones I would bet on in the near- and mid-term."

A common gateway to better functionality?

Some experts agree that CUSS is a good starting point, but that airline kiosks should expand their functionality in order to make them worth the footprint.

"CUSS seems to be the way to go, and it does provide a great working standard," said Safwan Shah, founder and chief executive of Infonox. "Kiosks at airports do work well. I would like to see them do more, though. Ultimately, the airport could become like the metro and subway stations where you hardly see a person, except for physical security."

Keefner said that he sees potential when it comes to gaining and keeping frequent-flyer customers. "Enterprise systems are moving away from older legacy infrastructures to more Web-centric protocols which enable airlines to very quickly respond and package for their customers," he said.

"Self-service has allowed the airline industry to remove costs in an era when cost-reduction is paramount to continued survival," Kinetics Sorenson said. "As it continues to grow into additional arenas, both corporations and end-consumers will continue to see how this technology can have a positive impact on each of them."

Posted by keefner at 02:43 AM

September 02, 2005

Airline e-tickets now 30 pct of market: Poll by SITA and Airline Business

Electronic tickets now account for 30 per cent of those issued by airlines, up from 19 per cent in 2004, the poll by airlines technology firm SITA and Airline Business magazine showed.

Airline e-tickets now 30 pct of market: Poll

Posted online: Friday, September 02, 2005 at 1433 hours IST

London, September 2: Airlines have boosted their use of e-tickets, but tough times for some carriers are slowing the switch to other technologies designed to speed up service, an industry poll showed on Thursday.

Electronic tickets now account for 30 per cent of those issued by airlines, up from 19 per cent in 2004, the poll by airlines technology firm SITA and Airline Business magazine showed.

Over 70 per cent of airlines sell tickets over the Internet, the poll of executives from 200 airlines showed.

The industry has also stepped up efforts to introduce Internet access or phone use aboard planes.

The poll found 44 per cent of airlines intend to offer some form of in-flight connectivity by the end of 2007.

High fuel prices have dented hopes for airline earnings this year, though fuel surcharges appear to have helped many pass on costs to passengers without losing business.

The poll said one risk the industry faces is unnecessary costs stemming from the need to introduce new technology for some carriers, while sustaining legacy systems for those unable or unwilling to upgrade.

"It would be a costly duplication if the industry had to retain technology to process both paper and electronic tickets," SITA president Peter Buecking said.

North American airlines have gone from the industry's technology leaders to laggards, with Asia-Pacific carriers now the most savvy about upgrading technology, the poll found.

IT spending by Asia-Pacific airlines stands at 2 per cent of revenues while at North American carriers the average has fallen to 1.4 per cent from 1.9 per cent a year ago, it said.

"Debt-laden airlines have put technology innovation on the back burner to focus on streamlining operations," SITA said in a news release.

Bar codes that allow passengers to receive tickets by mobile phone or PDA and print them out ahead of time is one area where North American carriers are ahead of European airlines, with 67 per cent able to offer this service versus just 17 per cent in Europe.

Despite tough times for some, low-fare airlines are driving growth overall, with traffic set to double in Europe by 2020, straining airport infrastructure despite plans to spend more than 50 billion dollars on expansion by 2025.

Analysts say this growth will force the industry to adopt technology to help speed the flow of passengers, using check-in kiosks, which can take tickets from any airline, for example, to save passengers from having to roam through airports looking for a specific check-in area.

Airline e-tickets now 30 pct of market: Poll

Posted by keefner at 02:48 PM

April 06, 2005

Airline quality expected to keep declining

As morale and manpower have declined across the airline industry, things are likely to get worse than better, especially at the troubled legacy carriers, the co-author of an academic study of airline quality released Monday said.

MENAFN - Middle East North Africa . Financial Network

Current conditions are similar to those in 2000, when the overloaded air travel system was fraught with delays and other problems, before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks severely curbed air travel. Now, air travel is back up to pre-2001 levels, but the airlines are struggling to keep up due to the recent massive layoffs, inadequate airport infrastructure to handle the increased traffic, and low morale.

"I hope (this year's decline) is a blip, but I expect we'll see a decline in quality next year as well," study co-author Dean Headley told United Press International. "Legacy carriers are at particular risk ... the cumbersome structure they've built up over the years is coming home to roost."

More and more, legacy carrier customers, once guaranteed luxuries like access to airport lounges and in-flight meals, are seeing such perks stripped away, while travelers are simultaneously getting stuck on planes and in airports for longer and longer, as well as being encouraged to interact mostly with machines. With the difference between the legacy and budget carriers narrowing, travelers will take the cheapest and fastest flight regardless of the airline just to get where they're going as quick as they can.

Not that it's just legacy carriers that need some work. Only four out of the 14 carriers studied -- AirTran, Atlantic Southeast, JetBlue and United -- showed improvements over last year.

Overall, on-time flights declined to 78.3 percent in 2004 for 82 percent in 2003. Involuntary denied boarding per passenger rose to 0.87 per 10,000 passengers in 2004 from 0.86 in 2003. Consumer complaints rose to 0.76 per 100,000 passengers in 2004, up from 0.67 in 2003. Mishandled baggage per 1,000 customers rose to 4.83 in 2004 from 4 in 2003.

One important fact to keep in mind is that the actual number of complaints is probably three to four times what's recorded, said Headley, who co-wrote the report with Brent Bowen, director of the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

"The DOT's the only place we can get an accurate count of complaints, so if (customers) only complained to the airline we'd never know about it, but this is all we can get out hands on."

Though complaints are up and passenger traffic is up, government data shows that legacy carriers have cut about 150,000 full- and part-time jobs over the past four years, while low-cost airlines have added fewer than 10,000 workers, the New York Times reported Sunday.

"You take 5,000 or 7,000 or 10,000 people out of the loop (at an airline), that's noticeable," Headley, associate professor of marketing and entrepreneurship in the W. Frank Barton School of Business at Wichita State, told United Press International. "It's hard to complain to a television screen kiosk."

He described trying to perform tasks like checking luggage at such kiosks as "next to impossible."

Of the 14 airlines listed, budget airlines ranked best, with JetBlue taking the top spot overall, followed by Air Tran and Southwest. United Airlines came in fourth, the highest-ranked legacy carrier. Next came Alaska Airlines, America West, Northwest, American, Continental, and ATA. Bringing up the rear were Delta, U.S. Airways, American Eagle, SkyWest, COMAIR, and Atlantic Southeast.

Besides a shortage of humans, another big problem is that airlines are making customers take longer flights and wait longer between flights in some airports, because the airports can't fly out enough planes during busy times to accommodate all the traffic, Headley said. Such congested airports are typically hubs for legacy carriers, which operate on a hub-and-spoke system that is not as efficient as budget carriers, which don't use hubs but rather fly point-to-point, with less extra stops.

For example, Headley said, travelers who fly out of Wichita on a legacy carrier typically have to fly to two hub cities before reaching their destination.

"The traveling public is being asked to give up more of their time to accommodate a congested system," he said.

If legacy carriers don't make some headway soon, he said, it's likely that eventually they will abandon the domestic market and concentrate on their lucrative international routes.

"You might have a domestic (carrier) that ... doesn't do America any more," he said.

In fact, in a speech last December, U.S. Department of Transportation Undersecretary for Policy, Jeffrey Shane, said that the U.S. airline industry was in such bad financial shape that perhaps it was time to open the U.S. airline industry so U.S. carriers could benefit from international market opportunities.

U.S. officials "need to consider seriously whether there is any continuing rationale for restricting our airlines' access to the global capital marketplace," he said.

Shane said that U.S. airports would also benefit from continued easing of federal regulations in regard to airport financing, which would allow airports greater freedom to do things like charge passenger fees to help fund capacity expansion.

Such expansion is desperately needed, with U.S. aviation system demands expected to triple by 2025, Shane said.

Headley, however, said he doesn't see the U.S. aviation market opening up anytime soon, as foreign markets likely would not want the competition from U.S. carriers.

"If we let them in here they will have to let us in there," he said.

Posted by keefner at 12:27 AM

March 11, 2005

Airlines, IATA, SITA and Trends

Self-service check-in costs $0.16 on average, compared with $3.68 using human agents...

Smart travel: New technologies promise to make air travel smoother for passengers and cut costs for beleaguered airlines

GET ready to change the way you travel. That is the message from Giovanni Bisignani, the head of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), an industry body that co-ordinates aviation rules and standards. He still wants you to travel by plane, of course, as 1.8 billion passengers did in 2004, and 1.9 billion will do this year. But with commercial aviation in a sorry state as a result of terrorist attacks, an economic slowdown, SARS, the Iraq war and high oil prices, he believes the best treatment for the industry is a strong dose of technology that could both reduce costs for airlines and make travel simpler and smoother for passengers. IATA's grand plan to do this, called Simplifying the Business, was launched in Geneva last November. It calls for a drastic overhaul of four aspects of the air-travel processtickets, boarding passes, check-in and baggage handlingwith an aggressive timetable that should start to deliver results this year.

At the same time, other new technologies are reshaping the nature of air travel. In-flight internet access, and even the use of mobile phones, could soon become commonplace, on some routes at least. Entertainment systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated as airlines compete for customer loyalty. What will all this mean for air travellers?

The first plank of IATA's plan is to eliminate paper tickets by the end of 2007. In many parts of the world they are already an endangered species: only about 20% of tickets issued in America are paper ones, and almost all of those are for international flights. But globally, electronic tickets still account for only 35% of all tickets issued, up from 10% in 2001.

With a paper ticket, details of the passenger's journey are stored in a magnetic strip that can be read by special readers. With an electronic ticket, these details are stored in an airline database, and are retrieved using a unique look-up code. This means there is no need to issue a physical ticket to the passenger: instead, the code can be delivered via the internet or over the phone. It is much more convenient for passengers, particularly when buying tickets online, and results in huge savings for airlines: an e-ticket costs around $1 to issue and process, compared with $10 for a paper ticket. Eliminating paper tickets could save the industry over $2.7 billion a year, says Michael Feldman of IATA.

No tickets, please

Implementing e-ticketing within a single airline is relatively straightforward. But interline ticketing (in other words, tickets for a journey involving more than one airline) is trickier, because it requires different airlines' databases to talk to each other. Getting rid of paper tickets, then, involves linking up the airlines. This is happening first within airline alliances, says Mr Feldman, and then between airlines that partner on particular routes.

What of smaller, regional carriers? Linking up smaller airlines is not as tricky as it might seem, notes James Peters of SITA, a company that provides technology and infrastructure to the aviation industry. SITA runs a reservations system called Gabriel, which is used by more than 160 airlines, many of them small carriers in Africa and Asia. Support for electronic ticketing was added to Gabriel at the end of 2004. Problem solved, then? Not quite. What will take time, says Mr Peters, is establishing commercial agreements between airlines, changing procedures and training staff. The technology and standards for electronic ticketing are well established, says Mr Feldman. But to implement it requires changes in business processes. The cost savings ought to encourage airlines to get moving, however.

Doing away with paper tickets also means the check-in process can be completely overhauled, the second component of IATA's four-part initiative. For once a ticket is no longer a physical item, there is no need to be at the airport to present it: instead, you can check in for your flight from home via the web, or even while on the move via your mobile phone. In each case, the boarding card is issued in the form of a two-dimensional bar-code, an apparently random grid of black-and-white dots. This pattern, which can be printed out from a PC or displayed on the screen of a mobile phone, is then scanned at the gate before boarding. Several airlines already allow online check-in over the web. It is more convenient for passengers, since it means less standing in line at the airport; they can even see what choice of seats is available on-screen, and make their choice accordingly. It also saves airlines money, by reducing the need for check-in facilities and staff.

The next step, says Mr Peters, is to extend online check-in to mobile phones. SITA has developed such a system in conjunction with Siemens, and began testing it with a Brazilian airline last November. Check-in is handled by a small piece of software on the phone, downloaded like a game or a ringtone. The software establishes a wireless connection with the reservation system, offers a choice of seats, and then retrieves the boarding-pass bar-code, which is stored in the handset.

The system can be configured to send passengers a text-message reminder two hours before the flight; clicking a link in the message launches the check-in process. Several airlines plan to introduce mobile check-in later this year. But bar-code boarding passes cannot be used for interline flights unless all the airlines and airports along the route support them. Like electronic tickets, bar-code boarding passes will be adopted first by individual airlines, and then by alliances, before becoming ubiquitous.

The third component of IATA's plan is an expansion in the use of self-service kiosks, which are already popping up in airports around the world. Again, the benefits are speedier service for passengers and savings for airlines: a self-service check-in costs $0.16 on average, compared with $3.68 using human agents, according to Forrester Research, a consultancy.

Do it yourself

According to a survey carried out by SITA, airlines expect a majority of their passengers to be using kiosks for check-in by 2008. On busy routes thronged by frequent travellers, kiosks are already so popular that it is necessary to queue up to use them. Rather than installing more kiosks all over the place to handle peak demand, it makes more sense to switch from airline-specific kiosks to shared ones, which can handle passengers from several airlines. This makes it easier to scale check-in capacity to meet demand, and enables even small airlines to offer self-service check-in. Such shared machines, which conform to a standard drawn up by IATA, are known as common-use self-service (CUSS) kiosks. The first CUSS kiosks to serve multiple airlines were introduced last April in Toronto by SITA. Passengers are presented with a common welcome screen, select an airline, and that airline's own check-in software then pops up.

The switch to CUSS machines makes it feasible to put kiosks in places other than the airport, such as car-rental offices, railway stations or hotel lobbiesplaces where a row of airline-specific kiosks would have taken up too much room and cost too much. Airlines are now examining the business case for putting kiosks in all kinds of places where passengers congregate, says Mr Feldman. Another trend, says Henry Harteveldt, an analyst at Forrester Research, is to integrate other, non-airline services into kiosks. It would then, for example, be possible to use a kiosk in a hotel lobby to check out of the hotel, look up the status of your flight, and then check in for it.

The fourth part of IATA's plan is the most ambitious, and will probably take the longest: switching baggage labels from printed bar-codes to wireless tags based on radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology. The aim is to reduce the number of misplaced items of baggage, a headache for passengers and airlines alike. Of the 1.5 billion bags carried on commercial flights each year, around 0.7% go astray. Dealing with each lost bag costs airlines an average of $100, or around $1 billion a year for the industry as a whole, not to mention the loss of customer goodwill. A big part of the problem is that crumpled or torn bar-code labels are misread by the machines that process baggage as it travels between passenger and plane: the accuracy of printed bar-codes can be as low as 80%. RFID tags, in contrast, have accuracy rates exceeding 95%. As a bag with an RFID tag passes through a scanner, a pulse of radio waves awakens the tag, which responds by transmitting a small burst of data.

Trials with RFID tags have been going on for several years. But so far, adoption has been hampered by the high cost of the tagsnow down to about $0.25, but still too muchand a disagreement over which of two approaches to pursue. One approach is to use pre-printedRFID tags that contain a unique identity code that cannot be changed. When the bag is checked in, the tag is applied, and the airline's computer systems associate the tag's code with the passenger's electronic ticket. This approach is being championed by Delta, an American carrier that is particularly enthusiastic about RFID tags. It has the advantage that pre-printed tags are cheap: they cost around $0.05.

The drawback with this approach, however, is that the association between tag and passenger is stored in the airline's database. So every time the tag is read, a real-time connection to that database is needed to work out how to route the bag. It works well for a single airline, but when more than one airline is involved, links are needed between their databases. That is why many in the industry favour a second approach involving the more expensive tags. These have the advantage that data can be written into them, including passenger and routing details, when the bag is checked in. This information then travels along with the bag, without the need for any database look-ups.

All of this depends on the development of an international standard, and that will require extensive testing. At the moment, says Mr Feldman, the emphasis is on limited trials involving pairs of airports and airlines. In one recent example KLM and Japan Airlines tested RFID tagging of baggage on the Schiphol-Narita route. Another trial, at Montreal airport, involves kiosks that generate RFID baggage tags at check-in, making self-service check-in possible even for passengers with hold luggage. RFID tags will be widely adopted only if airlines, airports and ground-handling staff can be convinced that they are a good idea, says Mr Feldman. The cost of the switch will also have to be justified. But as RFID is adopted in other industries, economies of scale ought to reduce costs.

All of these technologieselectronic tickets, remote check-in, kiosks and RFID tagshave already been adopted, to varying degrees, by forward-thinking airlines and airports around the world. The aim of IATA's initiative is to introduce standards, to ensure interoperability, promote adoption, and make the benefits of these technologies available to the whole industry. The switch from proprietary, airline-specific technologies to open standards will, however, reduce the airlines' scope for differentiation. If all passengers are using the same facilities, how can airlines distinguish themselves from their rivals?

Primarily through the routes they fly and the prices they charge, of course; and the quality of their in-flight service. But while technology would seem to make competitive differentiation within the airport more difficult, it is simultaneously increasing the scope for differentiation in the air, through the provision of ever more elaborate in-flight services.

In-flight entertainment is now a critical part of how airlines position themselves, say Mr Harteveldt. One of the most advanced entertainment systems in current use is Virgin Atlantic's V:port, currently available in 13 of the airline's 31 aircraft, and being installed in all its new aircraft. Its most notable feature is video on demand, with 300 hours of films and television shows that can be called up by any passenger at any time. The video is stored on hard disks on a central server and is streamed to each seat. V:port also has a music-on-demand service and a selection of games, some of which (such as a trivia quiz) support multi-user play between passengers. All this, says Lysette Gauna, Virgin's head of in-flight entertainment, reinforces Virgin's association with fun and innovation. Similar systems will become available on rival airlines in future, says Ms Gauna, so Virgin is already developing an improved system.

Another trend is the growing availability of internet access on board aircraft. The state of the art here is Boeing's Connexion service, which uses a satellite broadband connection to create a Wi-Fi hotspot inside the cabin. Lufthansa was the first airline to deploy the service, in May last year, and it intends to make it available on all long-haul routes by the middle of 2006. Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways have also adopted the technology, and Singapore Airlines, China Airlines and SAS plan to follow suit. The service typically costs $30 on flights of six hours or more, and $20 on flights of between three and six hours. A similar system is offered by Tenzing, a subsidiary of Airbus. It recently established a joint-venture with SITA called OnAir, with a view to exploiting what is expected to be the next big trend in airborne communications: the in-flight use of mobile phones.

Contrary to popular belief, the main impediment to the use of mobile phones on planes is not interference with the aircraft's avionics systems. On a typical long-haul flight, says Mike Fitzgerald of Altobridge, a firm that makes technology to bridge satellite and cellular networks, 20 mobile phones are left switched on. Instead, the problem is that airborne mobile phones disrupt mobile networks on the ground. An airliner with 500 phones on board, whizzing across a city, would befuddle the network as the phones busily hopped from one base-station to the next.

But the technology now exists to allow passengers to get around this problem. A small base-station, called a picocell, is installed on the plane, and connected to the telephone network via a satellite link. The aircraft cabin is shielded to prevent handsets from making contact with base-stations on the ground. Instead, they roam on to the network signal from the picocell. Since the picocell is so nearby, the handsets can operate at very low power to maintain contact with it, which eliminates interference with networks on the ground. Picocell systems have been tested on several flights, including a flight over the Pacific last August, and a test over Geneva to demonstrate that ground-based networks were not affected. Getting final regulatory approval will take most of 2005, says Mr Peters, so commercial service will begin in 2006. According to SITA's annual airline survey, more than 20% of global airlines plan to introduce in-flight mobile telephony by 2007.

Check-in can be handled by a small program on your phone, downloaded like a game or a ringtone.

When the technical and regulatory rules have been sorted out, however, the small matter of in-flight phone etiquette will remain. I have concerns that it will be extremely annoying, says Nancy McKinley of the International Airline Passengers Association, a body that represents frequent travellers. However, OnAir's market research found that long-haul travellers expressed more interest in internet access and text-messaging than voice calls, and Mr Harteveldt says his research has found that very few travellers want to make voice calls while in the air. It may be that the voice market will be stillborn, and more discreet data communications will predominate.

Flying into the future

Putting all these pieces together, it seems that technology could soon make air travel smoother, swifter, more fun and more productive. But there are two potential problems. The first is that customer service could end up taking a back seat to cutting costs. Even now, some travellers are suspicious of electronic tickets, notes Ms McKinley. Similarly, not everyone wants to use kiosks; some people would rather stand in line and talk to a human. Mr Feldman, however, notes that different airlines are using technology to serve different types of customers. Some see technology as a cheap way to provide no-frills services to economy-class travellers, while passengers prepared to pay more are given more personal attention; other airlines see technology as a way to appeal to frequent travellers who want fast service and like to be in control. So passengers will still have a choice.

Another problem is that, as airport procedures are streamlined by airlines, the lack of co-ordination over security procedures will become increasingly apparent. CUSS kiosks, for example, have been designed to support biometric technologies such as face-scanning or fingerprints in future, since governments intend to incorporate them into passports. So far, however, there is no international standard, and questions remain about the reliability of the technology. We are trying to take into consideration where all of this is going, but there is still no clear global direction on which biometrics are going to be applicable and where, says Mr Feldman. Variations in security rules could limit how smooth travel can be.

Looking ahead, IATA's journey of the future scenario imagines a seamless system in which security and immigration procedures are also implemented via check-in kiosks, so that there is no need to present the same documents repeatedly while moving through the airport. But this is a long-term vision. For now, the various plans to transform travel over the next couple of years would appear to be quite ambitious enough already.

Posted by Craig at 09:34 PM

February 17, 2005

Airline Business Changes

aeroplane.jpgInternational air transport body seeks director to lead global initiative

Airline business set for major changes
International air transport body seeks director to lead global initiative
James Watson, Computing 16 Feb 2005
THE International Air Transport Association (IATA) is leading a programme to introduce 100 per cent airline e-ticketing globally by 2007.

IATA's Simplifying the Airline Business initiative will also push for an expansion of self-service check-in kiosks, and use of radio frequency identification (RFID) for baggage handling.

The organisation is looking to appoint a programme director to lead the initiative, which will re-engineer the global airline business.

By the end of the year, pilot programmes for RFID-based baggage handling have to be in place at five international airports, while check-in terminals are scheduled to be implemented at a further five airports.

The director will also be responsible for overseeing IATA's biggest challenge: the global shift to e-ticketing.

Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's chief executive and director general, says that with losses in the industry standing at more than $30bn (16bn) between 2001 and 2004, change is essential.

'We must rebuild our industry's processes. Using existing technology, the goal is to reduce cost and increase passenger convenience,' he said.

IATA believes annual savings of $3bn (1.6bn) are possible with e-ticketing alone, cutting costs from about 5 per paper ticket to just 50 pence.

In addition, self-service check-in kiosks, barcoded boarding passes that passengers can print themselves, and RFID-based baggage management all present significant opportunities for cost savings.

IATA works with 270 airlines, comprising 94 per cent of all international air traffic.

Posted by Craig at 02:39 PM

January 19, 2005

Internet Service Acquisition

Ingate Technologies Acquired by Concourse.

Concourse Communications Acquires Internet Terminal Provider

1/18/05 - Concourse Communications Group announced it has acquired Ingate Technologies, LLC, a California-based company specializing in the installation and management of airport-based, cash-pay Internet terminals. The acquisition will enable Concourse to significantly broaden its base of potential users to include those business travelers not carrying Wi-Fi enabled laptops and leisure travelers who want to access their e-mails or enjoy instant messaging while on the road.
"We believe the availability of highly reliable Internet terminals in the airports we serve will further enhance the travel experience for passengers," said Joe Beatty, president of Concourse Communications.

"Our GateStation terminals have an attractive design and will support a number of new, value added services which we plan to introduce later this year," Beatty adds. Airports that currently have GateStation terminals installed include Minneapolis-St. Paul, Cincinnati, Columbus and Kansas City.

Posted by Craig at 03:57 PM

December 14, 2004

Airline Boarding Passes at Hotels

By next summer, some Northwest Airlines' passengers staying at Hilton Hotels will be able to print their boarding passes at a self-service terminal as they check out and head to the airport.

That's one initiative Eagan-based Northwest has planned for expanding its customers' electronic check-in options.

"We are working with Hilton to have the Hilton kiosks spit out Northwest boarding passes,'' said Al Lenza, vice president of distribution and e-commerce. "It will not happen until the second quarter next year, though."

Northwest would not provide specifics about the extent of the initiative or details of its arrangement with Hilton.

Worldwide, there are more than 500 Hiltons, the flagship brand of Hilton Hotels Corp. The firm's other brands include Doubletree, Embassy Suites and Hampton Inn.

Northwest has several other enhancements in the works or in mind - for its self-service check-in terminals.

They already check in and rebook passengers for flights and help them with many other tasks and services.

Before long, travelers also will be using Northwest terminals to check in for connecting flights on more of the airline's alliance partners, including Aeromxico, Air France, Alitalia, CSA Czech Airlines, and Korean Air.

Under development are plans to have the terminals permit one person to check in a large family or entire group. Northwest is mulling setting up the terminals to take orders and payments for in-flight meals.

"We want them (the terminals) to be able to do 100 percent of what an agent can do," said Lenza. "And we want them to be completely intuitive."

Last month, a record 80.1 percent of Northwest e-ticketed passengers that's just about everyone checked in for their flights via one of the airline's self-service terminals or Northwest's Web site. On the Web, they can do virtually everything they can do at a terminal.

Northwest now has 1,015 self-service kiosks in 208 airports, including 10 in Asia, up from 753 kiosks in 188 stations 14 months ago.

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has 125 kiosks, many deployed in banks where a Northwest employee stands by to accept checked bags.

Airline kiosks can pay for themselves within 60 to 90 days, primarily through reduced labor costs, said Jim Brown, spokesman for Orlando, Fla.-based Kinetics Inc., which supplies Northwest with kiosks.

Kiosks can cost about $10,000-$20,000 each to deploy, counting everything from wiring to programming to the kiosk itself.

Forrester Research analyst Henry Harteveldt estimates that a self-service terminal check-in costs an airline about 16 cents per passenger, compared with $3.68 for one involving an agent.

A Forrester survey of consumers indicates that 54 percent of airline passengers have used an airport kiosk to check in for a flight at least once this year. Meanwhile, 55 percent have used the Internet to check in, Forrester estimates.

The rates are almost double what they were in 2003, said Harteveldt.

Northwest's higher than average rate of electronic check-ins reflects its early adoption of self-service terminals and use of them, starting in 2002, for international flight check-ins.

In the coming year, airlines will introduce many more services via the terminals, Harteveldt said.

"You'll see functions such as buying coupons you can redeem on the plane for alcoholic beverages, meals or headset set rentals," he said.The downside to kiosks? Industrywide, the average kiosk is out of action about 15 percent of the time, Harteveldt said.

Northwest says its terminals, however, are down less than 1 percent of the time.
Source: Pioneer Press

Posted by Craig at 02:15 PM