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What are the passengers needs on an airport if we focus on the baggage? Do they prefer personal service or a shorter check-in time? The answer depends on the type of passenger.The difference between a business passenger and a vacation traveller has big influences on the measures an airport has to take. Therefore an airport can use the Integral Logistics Concept (ILC) were different strategies on service level can be distinguished.
Different passengers have different needs. In the summer months the vacation travellers rise in high numbers. Though the needs of those passengers are not that special. They have enough time to wait for their service at a check-in desk. In contrast to the business passengers who prefer a fast throughput time at an airport. A solution to this problem, especially in the summer months, could be the flattening of the peak hours. Vacation passengers check in three to four hours before their flight takes off and as reward they get a coupon to use for shopping at the airside of the terminal. This means that business passengers won’t be delayed by the long queues to check-in their baggage.
But the amount of passengers is rising every year and the airports have to build their terminals to it. How can you increase capacity, at the same time reduce costs and optimize income? They invented the Baggage Drop Off point (BDO) for this problem. Passengers can check-in their own baggage at a machine, using their passport and ticket. If we make an Economic Trade Off (ETO) between one BDO and one check-in desks, which needs FTEs, the result shows us that the cost recovery for the BDO will take five years. This means that check-in desks could become superfluous. The BDO requires less space too, which results in the ability of placing more BDOs at the same place instead of the check-in desks.
So the BDO is profitable for an airport. They don’t have to hire more check-in desk staff during the summer and they do not have to cultivate their terminal to enlarge their capacity. Though the check-in desks is known for its full service given by the airline. Especially the elder people and passengers who do not fly often ask for certain escort at an airport. The check-in desk staff can provide this service, which a BDO can’t. So replacing all of the check-in desks by BDO’s does not seem the right option, or does it? An example: the debit card. When this came on the market a lot of people were against it. It was normal to go to a bank and ask for your money instead of using the technology for faster service. The elder people had problems using this device, but today it is one of the most normal things in the world. People are afraid of changes and need to be helped the first few times to get familiar with the technology. As goes for the BDO’s. A solution could be to place one employee in the area with the BDOs to support the passengers who need help. Later on this can be replaced with a mobile app containing instructions to reduce costs. By this, an airport can give the passengers their service and the business people their fast throughput time.
I believe the check-in desks will disappear as the BDO’s will take their place. With the technology we have and the upcoming generation, who does not know any better, self-service check-in can be the future.