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CHAPTER 3 Findings This chapter provides summaries of findings covering the two elements of the research process most relevant to the development of the Decision-Making Tool: the case study interviews and the verification site visits. The full analyses of these research results can be found in Appendix A. In addition, Appendix A provides detailed analyses of interviews with and documents gathered from various regularly and industry-specific sources. Summary of Case Study Findings Synopsis On-site case studies were conducted at 10 airports, involving seven associated airlines. For each case study site visit, an airline and/or host airport sponsored a set of meetings and tours at the respective airport locations. The research team typically met with strategic planning personnel, airline and airport operations and management staff, and other stakeholders. The research team also conducted airport site tours and recorded transaction analyses of the self- tagging operations. Table 1 provides a statistical comparison of each airport where case studies were conducted. Assessment of Business Case A variety of business cases were identified. Many airports and airlines indicated multiple moti- vations in pursuing self-tagging, while others indicated no clear driver. One group of business cases centered around the check-in process itself, with a focus on kiosk check-in, simplifying check-in, and expediting check-in. Another group dealt with improving customer satisfaction, which included reducing the dwell time required by the passengers, providing passengers with more flexibility in the check-in process, and catering to the desires of the airline tenants. Several issues regarding facility concerns were raised. These issues included reducing the peak congestion in the check-in lobby, making continual improve- ment in passenger flow, reducing the size of the check-in facil- ity, delaying construction of capital projects, increasing the throughput of the bag drop/check-in desk, and increasing effi- ciency within the existing infrastructure. While not a major factor, a few believed self-tagging would provide direct cost savings through a reduction in agent staff. Finally, competition with vehicle traffic due to the proximity of airports and the length of time spent in the airport was a key factor for one air- line to pursue self-tagging. Schematic bag drop. 13
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14 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging Table 1. Comparison of case study airports.* Annual Airlines Using Duration Airport Code Area for PST Passengers PST with PST Amsterdam AMS 47,349,319 KLM, SK, International, (non-U.S.) 10 years Schengen (inter-Europe) Auckland AKL 6,576,838 ANZ Domestic, International 2 years Christchurch CHC 1,592,388 ANZ Domestic 1 year Dublin DUB 22,558,520 EI, SK International, (non-U.S.) 3 years Schengen (inter-Europe) Geneva GVA 10,755,253 EZY, LX, SK International, (non-U.S.) 12 years Schengen (inter-Europe) Montreal YUL 7,393,390 AC, WS, US Transborder, Domestic 8 years International Stockholm ARN 13,281,542 SAS International, (non-US) 12 years Arlanda Schengen (inter-Europe) Toronto YYZ 18,509,624 AC,WS Domestic, International 2 years Vancouver YVR 8,507,464 AC, WS Domestic, International 2 years Wellington WLG 605,617 ANZ Domestic 1 year Note: PST = passenger self-tagging. * Data taken from: ACI 2009. Worldwide Airport Traffic Statistics, December 2008, March 13, 2009. Transaction Analysis On the basis of the information gathered and the observations made, two opposing trends were seen with regard to the efficiency of transactions. On one hand, queue lines were nonexis- tent and passengers would consistently check-in and drop their bags in just over 2 minutes with little reliance on agent assistance. On the other hand, queue lines would build and diminish much like traditional check-in counters, and passenger check-in and bag drop times would dif- fer greatly from 2 minutes to more than 10 minutes. Many factors were noted as being respon- sible for the variance in efficiencies. Key among these are passenger flow design from the kiosk to the bag drop, availability of options for passenger check-in, availability of services at the bag drop, reliance on agent staff, and attentiveness of agent staff. Operational Assessment Both common use and proprietary implementations were assessed, and while some specific issues were noted as being unique to the type of implementation, the vast majority of operational issues were not. One of the key differentiating factors was whether the owner's approach to self-tagging was to make it the primary check-in medium or merely to add it as an option for passengers. The more aggressive approach of making it the primary check-in medium resulted in a mea- surably higher level of success due to a unified effort by staff and passengers to make it successful. In contrast, when imple- mented as an additional option for passenger self-service, it was noted that both passengers and agents would commonly revert to the traditional check-in process as opposed to adopt- ing the new approach. In all cases, the transition from tradi- Aéroports de Montréal. tional check-in to self-tagging was a challenge for agents. The
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Findings 15 modified job function from transaction-centric to customer-centric required a significantly dif- ferent skill set. This resulted in the resignation of some agents and an increase in floor managers' mentoring and coaching of the agent staff. From a business perspective, the transition often resulted in the need for fewer agents, a reduced salary requirement for the new positions, and a shorter training time for new agents. Passenger Assessment In general, it was noted that passengers who were likely to be frequent travelers, as evidenced by their level of comfort and familiarity with the airport, were highly accepting of self- tagging, while those who were less experienced with the over- all process either required the assistance of agents or opted to check-in through the traditional counters. The availabil- ity of agent support and the approach to providing assistance, whether it be teaching a passenger how to use the kiosk or redirecting the passenger to the counter, had a direct impact on the adoption of the process by new users. At least one air- line noted that, over time, as passengers learn the new system, the acceptance rate rises and processing time decreases. Arlanda airport. Facility and Installation Assessment A variety of installation styles were observed with variances in the check-in alternatives, lobby layout and flow, and bag drop designs. In the most extreme cases, web check-in was not available and check-in counters were only available for special circumstances, such as re-check and irregular operations, spe- cial needs, exceptions, and premium passengers only. On the other extreme, some implementations would allow full-service passenger processing at the bag drop designated for self-tagging. In most other cases, separate areas existed for self-tagging and traditional counters, each providing that service exclusively. Lobby layout and flow had a significant impact on the efficiency with which passengers moved through the self-tagging process. Some owners indicated that they were continuing to experi- ment with various flow models, while others had a definite pref- erence for a specific layout. All seemed to agree that less floor space was needed for self-tagging than would be required for the same level of processing through traditional counters. Another Toronto International Airport. area of distinct differences was the bag drop design. Some instal- lations used a simple open bag belt for passengers to drop their bag, which required no activation or screening and the bag would be weighed in the bag room. Others used a fully automated baggage induction point allowing the system to measure, weigh, and screen the baggage prior to allowing the baggage into the bag room. Most used an agent- assisted bag drop in which the agent would validate the identity of the person dropping the bag, weigh the bag, and activate the tag before sending the bag to the bag room. Design Recommendations While the implementations studied varied significantly, a few specific design elements were found to have a significant impact on the success of implementation and passenger acceptance.