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Meet The Kiosks

(January 23, 2003)

How To Work A Kiosk  

  1. Swipe your frequent flier card or a credit card used to book the ticket through the kiosk's card reader.  This is for identification only; no charges will appear on your credit card.

  2. Touch the screen area to verify your destination.

  3. Depending upon the airline, the kiosk may request a confirmation number. Ask the airline employee manning the kiosks for assistance if you can't find your number.

  4. The kiosk will ask security questions.

  5. Select your seat or confirm your seat, or get on a standby flight, upgrade or change a flight.

  6. After you've verified flight information and seat assignment you be asked how many bags you'll be checking.

  7. The kiosk prints a boarding pass and tells you what gate to proceed to.

  8. Take your bags to the attendant, who will have printed tags ready.

It used to be that going to the airport was synonymous with waiting in line. However, that's quickly changing as checking in at the airport is becoming much faster and easier; that is once you do it yourself.

For several months now, frequent traveler Bart Johnson has opted to bypass the long line at the US Airways ticket counter in Pittsburgh. Instead he opts for the cluster of ATM like machines called kiosks. Within three minutes, he and his bags are checked in, and with boarding pass in hand he's headed off to the gate. "It's really pretty cool," says Johnson. "I can remember the first time I used one it was pretty strange," he adds. Glancing over at the long line at the ticket counter he says he can't imagine flying without them now.

US Airways and other carriers hope travelers will have the same warm and fuzzy feeling Johnson has regarding kiosks. In the last few years, airlines have vigorously pursued automating the ticketing process to substantially lower costs and to make the flying experience a little easier for consumers. Indeed consumers have embraced the kiosk in a big way. Delta airlines recently announced the use of kiosks increased dramatically during 2002. The airline says customers checked-in using the speed and convenience of kiosks more than 7.4 million times last year. Delta estimates customers generally save between 5-15 minutes using kiosks, and even more during busy periods.

Most major U.S. carriers have installed thousands of check-in kiosks at airports around the country. Many, like US Airways' allow passengers with e-tickets to check themselves in and check baggage with an employee stationed nearby.

Even with usage growing, some travelers continue to check-in the old fashioned way: standing in line. One traveler remarked she can't even work her answering machine how could she possibly figure a kiosk out. Johnson reckons in time most flyers will come to prefer the kiosks as he does. He says, "They'll quickly discover it beats standing in line."

Related AnitaVacation Features:

Cyber Check-In: Print Your Own Airline Boarding Pass - The ultimate do-it-yourself convenience.

Airport Check-In: How Long Will You Wait? - What to know before heading off to the airport.

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