Heathrow International Airport has launched a new self-serve baggage drop with Australian based Qantas airlines. The self-serve bag drop will allow passengers to check-in at a kiosk and print a bag tag. The passenger then attaches their own tag to their bag and places it themselves on the conveyer belt. Heathrow expects this service will be popular with its 30 million annual business travelers. During the trial of this new “service,” (I’m not really sure how you can call do-it-yourself a service) which launched on October 31, staff members will be on hand to assist passengers.
Heathrow’s Terminal 3 Director, Kathryn Leahy, said, “This is an important step in our ongoing journey to provide the latest technology to our passengers at Heathrow. We know our passengers are quick to adopt new technology and embrace the idea of having more control over their travel experience.”
I’m not sure if this move is really about allowing passengers to control their own travel experience or finding ways to reduce overhead and eliminate staff. It will be interesting to see how the trial works out for Heathrow and Qantas as I’m sure there will be a lot of initial glitches. Just wait until someone prints a bag tag and it’s not for their final destination. Will they notice?
Ironically, Qantas Regional General Manger for the UK said, “At Qantas Airways we remain committed to providing our passengers with a premium level of service.” I’m just not convinced this is a “premium level of service.”
What do you think?