The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.
William GibsonIt got me thinking about two major challenges to objectives of the IATA fast travel program being the norm across the whole industry.
These automated bag drops at AMS highlight failures of mankind. Software & hardware not mature & pax struggle to follow instructions #paxex pic.twitter.com/NMjAGrLLRI— Geoff (@Alpen_Geoff) April 27, 2017
But still, the experience and expectations vary greatly between airports. For example, a smaller airport like Heraklion where not all the check-in counters even take the luggage, here you have to get the bag tag from a counter and then take to the x-ray machine. Here it is not a simple case of installing a few kiosks and some software, there is a much larger infrastructure and business process improvement project to consider. Which brings me onto the next challenge.
Business case: Airports may be reluctant to invest and implement such solutions as they face the dual challenges of differing customer requirements in terms of technology and process as well as the lack of a coherent proposition that reduces airline costs while at the same time maximises value for the airport. Global industry standards help to minimise the impact and are at the core of the Fast Travel solutions offered by the service providers and vendors.
Part of the problem is the aping of consumer technology, but always being behind, so user experience is not consistent with the expectations set. Consumer replacement cycles are within two years but enterprise IT roll-out projects still take that long to complete; so it stands to reason that they will always be behind the curve.
Isn't the better question "what provides the customer value?" - so do more of this - and "what detracts from that value?" - so do less of this if possible. I saw a great example of a creative answer to the second question at Disney World, where young children can be made to queue for an hour during busy periods. So, they have themed play areas, with buzzers to maintain queue position, in the busy rides. The children are not only kept entertained and also out of the blazing Florida sun.
I'll sign off with a couple of questions ... What would a creative solution to this look like for say security queues? Or maybe how could airlines share more data with airports to benefit from reduced costs?