04/08/2011

easyJet check-in could still improve

Two weeks ago nearly half of the easyJet check-in automats did not work. Things have since improved, but there is much room for further improvement!

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My observations were made two weeks ago, on Thursday 24 March, at 2pm. To check if anything improved, I revisited the check-in area at the same time on the following two Tuesdays, the second one being yesterday. The positive observation was that there were no queues on either Thursday and there were less non-working automats. However, most of those which were not working on these two Tuesdays were not working two weeks ago! In addition, I found a new non-working explanation on some automat screens.

On Thursday, 31 March, only 6 of the 20 automats were not working. Of these, 4 had a polite message asking people to use another automat, one had a completely blank (black) screen and one had a hand-written note saying that the printer was broken.

010.JPGYesterday, the printer problem had been repaired, but the blank screen automat was still blank. Two others again said go to another automat, one (the same one as two weeks ago!) gave an Internet Explorer diagnostic and two alternated the main screen with a new message saying that it was not possible to contact the easyJet flights database at that moment, but that the problem was probably only temporary.

It was also the case that, unlike the situation of two weeks ago, there were less flights departing around that time: 10 instead of 12 marked on the screen. This is certainly due to the fact that the summer schedules came into operation 12 days ago: the Leeds flight which then interested me has now been moved to the morning.

It is therefore possible to deduce that at any given time, with a certain number of flights that can be checked in, there must be more working automats than flights on the screen. The problem is a classic one: once there are queues, the people using the automats, but sensing that others are waiting behind them, may become more stressed and therefore less efficient: a negative feed-back effect.

It is particularly interesting to have looked at the three automats nearest to the check-in counters: numbers 20, 21 and 22 (and yes, that does suggest more than 20 automats installed, but I could only see 20!). Number 20 was the one with the Internet Explorer diagnostic, just as it was two weeks earlier. Number 21 had the database error message, whereas two weeks ago it had a Java run-time error. Number 22 was now working properly.

From all of this, I deduce that a further attempt is needed to ensure an adequate number of working automats. I also start to wonder whether the errors of numbers 20 and 21 are related to the general  network communications infrastructure in the airport or to a specific easyJet network infrastructure. If the former, then this could be related to the slowness that I have often observed in accessing airport networked services. I can also well remember spending a long time in the RailAway offices there, while the lady trying to help me to reserve a train trip muttered unfavourably about the over-long response time!

If you take an easyJet flight, would you care to look at automats 20, 21 and 22?

10:52 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (0) | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook

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