Kiosk Newsbit

Alaska Airlines Forges Ahead as Pioneer of

June 21, 1999

WORLD AIRLINE NEWS via NewsEdge Corporation : Unless you
have been living in a cave for the past few years, you know that
technology is reinventing the way business is being conducted. Airline
travel is next in line to be affected by the information age, and with
the introduction of Alaska Airlines' [ALK] concept "The Airport of the
Future," traveling may soon be quick and painless. 

The Seattle-based carrier has attempted to please the customer
with a speedy, unobstructed way to fly. It has presented the public
with technology that has a focus on less time standing in line and
more time sipping on a pre-flight Frappachino. 

In 1996, Alaska Airlines was the first U.S. airline to create
self-service check-in computer kiosks, allowing passengers to
purchase a virtual ticket or print boarding pass without waiting in
long lines. The computer kiosks, also known as Instant Travel (IT)
kiosks, are at the forefront of the airport revolution. Alaska Airlines
currently has 100 in operation, and expects to have 300 working by the
end of the year. 

The airline has spent an estimated US$6 million to improve technology
and help make their customer's airport experience smoother. Their
investment has been paying off; currently, an astounding 14 percent
of Alaska Airlines passengers are using the IT machines. 

"Over the next several years we would like to see roughly 80
percent of our customers using electronic tickets. We would also
like to see another 80 percent of those using electronic tickets using
the Instant Travel kiosks, " says Andrea Schneider, staff vice
president for customer services.  The Alaska Airlines website plays a
large role in the home-oriented shift. was
launched in 1995, and has been embraced by the public. According
to chairman John Kelly, web sales are up to US$14,328 a week.
Electronic tickets are starting to beat out their paper rivals and are
now the majority, accounting for 56 percent of passenger sales. 

Alaska Airlines' IT machines and website are the current technology
for " The Airport of the Future;" says Kelly. But he thinks that the
process has only just begun. One concept that has already been put
into affect at Boise Air Terminal is a proximity card. As the passenger
holding the card approaches the IT kiosk, their information instantly
appears, with their frequent flyer number, ticket and photo ID called
up on the screen. 

Considered by many analysts and commentators as one of America's
most innovative companies, Alaska Airlines is willing to accept change
with open arms. "The airport process is cumbersome for
everybody, so we will be looking at all kinds of technology in order to
help speed that up and make it easier for people to travel,"
Schneider tells World Airline News. 

The future, according to Kelly, is looking towards passengers printing
out their boarding passes with bar codes from their home computer. A
concept that has already been trailed in Anchorage, travelers enter
the airport, approach an Instant Travel kiosk, put their bags on a
self-service baggage check-in, never having to wait on a line. "It's
just some of the ways we're looking to leverage technology," notes


Thanks Kinetic!

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