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16 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging Among these were a thorough understanding of the current passenger characteristics and resource requirements, implementation of a flexible baggage handling system, airport ownership and man- agement of the baggage system and infrastructure, use of kiosks as the primary check in mecha- nism, location of kiosks and bag drop situated in such a way that they pull passenger traffic away from the check-in counters, collaborative planning between the airport and airlines, and use of industry standards. Transference/Applicability to the U.S. In general, most of the information gathered during the case studies is applicable to the imple- mentation of self-tagging in the U.S.; however, a few specific issues have been noted that are not. Most of the issues that are not directly applicable relate to differing levels of concern regarding domestic issues in different countries. Included in these are security requirements for domestic travel, regulations regarding accessibility issues, and personal privacy concerns. Airport--Airline Partnering The research found that a good partnering relationship between the airport and airline was a key contributor to the success of self-tagging initiatives. Most airlines indicated a preference for installing dedicated systems but were willing to discuss the benefits of common use installations. In general, airports have been supportive of airlines installing dedicated self-tagging solutions; however, in order to support other carriers that will move to self-tagging, airports anticipate the need to provide a common bag drop. Technical Challenges with Self-Tagging Initially, technical challenges were experienced with many implementations; however, due to the experience of the airports and airlines with self-service kiosks, the issues were relatively minor. Some of the issues included problems with the integration of middleware with the backend sys- tems, delays in the printing process that allowed time for a passenger who was unfamiliar with the process to walk off before retrieving their bag tags, and development of the bag tag itself. Roadmap for Further Employments Though case studies were conducted for self-tagging programs at varying levels of maturity, several common visions were identified that provide a sense of the general direction in which self-tagging will be moving throughout the world. First among these is the support for the estab- lishment of an internationally consistent approach for passenger self-tagging. Second, carriers who provide self-tagging for domestic flights only are interested in expanding their self-tagging solution to international flights. With most of the case study locations, there is widespread inter- est in relinquishing more check-in counters in favor of self-service kiosks. In fact, new facilities are being designed around the plan for extensive use of self-tagging and reduction of check-in counter space. Also noted was that airports providing common use intend to continue adding more airlines to the self-tagging program. Finally, it was noted that there is growing interest by airlines for the installation of off-site self-tagging kiosks. On-Site Verification Findings With quantitative results obtained through case studies and other research, field verification of these results was then necessary to improve the quality of the final Decision-Making Tool for application within U.S. airports. Through a selection process described in Chapter 2 (Research
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Findings 17 Approach), SEA and DSM were selected as ideal candidates. The two-fold objective of the on-site verification process was to (1) validate prerequisite information used and (2) obtain additional input to prerequisite information, if applicable. At both locations, the research team conducted a series of interviews with airport staff and management, partnering airline staff, TSA staff, technology solution providers, and other stake- holders. During the interviews, the research team reviewed the relevant prerequisite questions and presented early versions of the Decision-Making Tool. Both airport locations provided sup- plemental feedback on airlines, bag tags, facilities, finance, IT, kiosks, operations, planning, legal, regulatory, and security. In both locations, the perquisite information generally lined up with expectations of the U.S. airport locations. The research team found a much closer agreement at the larger airport site (SEA). This seemed reasonable, being that much of the information collected during the research process was also from larger airports. At the smaller airport site (DSM), the research team noted some differences in the existing pre- requisite information, along with additional information not considered at the larger airports. For example, questions arose regarding the following security-related prerequisites: · What are the changes in legal responsibility for acceptance of baggage by the airport? · Can the airport comply with passenger rights regarding checked bags? · Can the airport comply with National Aviation Security Program (NASP) Section 17 require- ments for hold baggage? · Is there increased risk to the airport due to liability for impact on airline operations and liability for safety in taking over Ground Handling Services? Using the feedback from these two airports, the research team was able to further refine exist- ing information and add new prerequisite information to the relevant areas of the Tool.