As part of its £5 billion (approx $7.8 billion)investment programme to make travel more comfortable and convenient for customers, British Airways is trialling a new service to provide its customers with the option to use an automatic check-in service. The service would change the future of airline check-in, as we know it today.
Frank van der Post, British Airways’ Managing Director of Brands and Customer Experience, said: “Customers have so much to think about prior to a trip, be that finishing up in the office or getting the kids’ suitcases packed. We’re aiming to give them one less thing to think about by giving them the choice to be checked in automatically and sent their boarding pass electronically. Then they just need to drop off any bags and make their way to the plane.”
This month British Airways will start a trial with selected travellers flying out of airports in France. Invited customers will have the option to be checked in automatically. Twenty-four hours before their flight, customers will be automatically checked in, assigned a seat and they will receive their boarding pass electronically, saving them the time and effort of going through traditional check-in.
Van der Post continues: “We’re known for our innovation at British Airways and I’m excited that we are continuing that tradition by trialling a revolutionary service that will make check-in even quicker and easier for our customers.”
The automated check-in trial will be extended to a larger group of travellers in the spring. If the trials are a success, the aim is to make the service an option for all customers across the British Airways network by the end of 2013.
This autumn further trials will be undertaken to enhance the customer experience, including at the airline’s home at Heathrow Terminal 5, where it will trial a British Airways complimentary porter service for departing First and Gold Executive Club customers. Departing premium customers will be greeted at their vehicle as it pulls up alongside Terminal 5 by a host and offered the service of a porter, who will escort them and transport their luggage to the First class check-in area.
At New York JFK and Hong Kong International Airport, trials have been taking place to help customers navigate quickly through the buildings, thanks to British Airways customer service staff positioned in the baggage and arrivals halls, and, in the case of Hong Kong, even at the train station.