05/06/2012

easyJet ropes off their automatic check-in terminals

Last year, some easyJet automatic check-in terminals were often broken. Now, at busy times, most are roped off. Result: back to those long zig-zag queues before the counters! Why?

I noticed this "back to the past" approach when going to the airport with someone who had a Tuesday flight back to London. In the area where there are located about 20 automatic check-in machines, almost all of them were roped off and hence made inaccessible. The inevitable consequence was one of those long queues where one moves slowly left then right in a snaky queue between parallel tapes. What we could describe as a "back to the past" traditional method of queueing, as well as being a reason why passengers are told to be at the airport two hours in advance of the departure!

Why was this the case: I have no idea. It is probable that this was a busy time of day for easyJet (around 2pm), and that there are quiet times (I am not quite sure when these could be!) when the automated check-in machines are made available. Maybe, also, the unstructured queuing to get at a working check-in machine was causing frustration and arguments between passengers!

Of course, at some airports passengers can opt for "Speedy Boarding", via an extra payment, to have access to priority check-in desks (I am unsure whether easyJet in Geneva has such check-in desks). Maybe this will apply to the flights designed to be attractive to business travellers (fast check-in, choice of seats, special lounge maybe?), as easyJet tries to lure these passengers away from the more traditional airlines? However, Lufthansa, one of many airlines currently losing money, are hitting back with a full page advert (in Le Matin Dimanche today, 6 May) for Geneva-Berlin next month from CHF 49 (not including a possible CHF 11 credit card charge!).

So what next? How about the system that we get in post offices, Swisscom help centres and other places, whereby we enter at a gate where we are given a numbered ticket (perhaps by pushing a button), plus an estimate of the expected waiting time, and then wait patiently until our number flashes up? If we knew that it would be long (more than 30 minutes) we could even go and get a coffee and a biscuit (against payment, of course, and at inflated prices!).

I have not looked at the use of the automatic check-in terminals for other airlines, but I did not notice any similar snaky queues anywhere else.

 

12:46 Posted in easyJet anecdotes | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: easyjet, geneva, airport, check-in | |  del.icio.us | | Digg! Digg |  Facebook