Alaska Airlines to eliminate airport check-in kiosks in $2.5B upgrade plan

Alaska Airlines plans to make airport check-in queues a thing of the past after unveiling its $2.5B upgrade plans for a more seamless and quicker process.

Over the next three years, Alaska Airlines will undergo major improvements to enhance the airport experience within its hubs and focus cities:

  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Portland International Airport (PDX)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  • Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC) 

The airline’s plan is to transition to a fully self-serviced check-in process that passengers can achieve with the use of their mobile phones.

The airline said that it is working on getting its passengers through the lobby and to security in five minutes or less with the help of the airline’s app. Desktop check-in is also possible, and boarding passes can be either sent to a mobile phone or printed.

In place of self check-in kiosks, Alaska Airlines will install iPad tablets where passengers can pay for and tag their bags. 

With three out of four passengers arriving at the airport with boarding passes, the airline said that most airports will transition to the new bag tag stations by the end of 2023.

By Spring of 2024, lobbies at Alaska Airlines’ hub airports will allow passengers to drop off their check-in bags with just a few scans. New machines will scan passengers’ faces, government-issued IDs and bags. From there, the machines will take the bags on a belt to be loaded to the aircraft.

“As we thought about how to provide the most caring experience for our guests, it was clear the lobby was a pain point. We realized the majority of our guests were doing most of the kiosk actions on their own phones and we could reduce the congestion in our airports,” Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of innovation and merchandising said in a statement

“Alaska was the first airline to introduce kiosks more than 20 years ago, and we’ll be the first airline to remove them. We’re looking forward to offering the new full guest experience next summer,” Jain added. 

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