Self Check-in at the airport

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
Does anyone else think it's a big waste of time? Even after I check myself in, I still need to walk up to the booth and give them my bags, and they still need to put those stickers on my bags for me. By doing this, all I'm doing is making the person behind the counter do less work.

And now that you can check in at home and just print out the boarding pass on a regular piece of white paper, flying gives me this weird, maybe illogical feeling that I'm a bit less safe than before now that people are printing dodgy looking boarding passes in black and white on their own dodgy inkjets. :eek: So self check-in saves me no time as a passenger, and makes me feel less safe. Great.

Plus there are less interaction with airport employees that "baddies" need to get through before boarding the airplane. Not saying I'm afraid of terrorists. That's crazy, I think. However, more interaction with airport employees is surely better than less, correct?

I feel around as protected as when I sign my signature at the bottom of a receipt when making credit card purchases. I just don't feel how self check-in makes any sense other than for the airline, which might save money because people are now checking themselves in on their own paper and requiring less employees to use up less time per passenger, meaning they can employ less people. Anybody else feel this way?
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
I love online check in - it saves so much time at the airport since it seems most people are still scared of doing so and would rather wait in an enormous queue at the airport. I love walking past the crowded snaking line straight to the bag drop.

I'm not too bothered by the home boarding pass either since I've seen a few people sent back and checked at the game when it wasn't quite right (ie check ID and print out a real one since it wasn't reading properly through their scanners)
 

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
32,191
5
Adelaide, Australia
It's a waste of time in Sydney. I don't bother doing it, personally. I like just buying the e-ticket, rocking up at the airport with my drivers licence, chucking my luggage at them and then hopping onto the Boeing. It's easy, it works, why do I need to sit at a strange phallic computer terminal to complicate this process?
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,346
1
Abstract said:
Does anyone else think it's a big waste of time? Even after I check myself in, I still need to walk up to the booth and give them my bags, and they still need to put those stickers on my bags for me. By doing this, all I'm doing is making the person behind the counter do less work........Anybody else feel this way?
Same here. I never use it. e-Ticket/ID/check bag(s)/ask for receipt and, boom. Platinum lines usually move faster if there are queues
 

rockthecasbah

macrumors 68020
Apr 12, 2005
2,395
2
Moorestown, NJ
It's great in Philly, shaved off a ton of time. Easy to use, got my tickets quick, and i was going right on the plane. That is to say however, i was with my brother and we didn't check any bags, each brought 1 carry on and 1 backpack (personal bag). If you don't have to check bags, it's quite useful. I see your point in that it isn't with checking...
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,511
I use it all the time. Saved me a ton of time yesterday. Walked up, scanned my bar code and printed boarding pass. Walked up to counter with no wait, gave drivers license and bag. Off I went to airport bar. The line for those who don't use it was 17 people long.

Not only did it save me time, it allowed me time for 2 drinks instead of one. I supported the local economy and possibly saved someone's job.

That being said, there should be 2 lines for going through security- Clue and No Clue. Way too many idiots with no clue as to the rules who hold these lines up. Also, would it be too much trouble for the TSA to supply quart sized zip-lock bags to the clueless? Some older lady was actually crying that she has to toss her makeup out because she didn't have a bag.
 

®îçhå®?

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2006
1,826
2
They are mainly designed for people on overnight stops who dont have any luggage to check in. For these people it is a great idea but im not one of them so it does not benefit me.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
®îçhå®? said:
They are mainly designed for people on overnight stops who dont have any luggage to check in. For these people it is a great idea but im not one of them so it does not benefit me.
And it worked great at that. Except that now in the United States, almost no liquids are permissible in carry-on luggage, and many other toiletries are also not permissible. So most of us cannot carry on our luggage, even if it is very compact and our stay very brief, if we are staying overnight. And so everyone is checking luggage, pretty much, at the moment.
 

Abstract

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Dec 27, 2002
24,415
124
Location Location Location
rdowns said:
I use it all the time. Saved me a ton of time yesterday. Walked up, scanned my bar code and printed boarding pass. Walked up to counter with no wait, gave drivers license and bag. Off I went to airport bar. The line for those who don't use it was 17 people long.
Well I've seen a lineup for regular check-in, but since I'm oh so "tech savvy", I decide to hop on over to the self check-in computers. There's a line for those as well. The line isn't as long, but the people who try to use these machines are too slow. A lot of them might be first timers. It has been out for awhile, but many people were too scared to use them before, and decide to try it out the first time when I'm waiting in line.

Anyway, the lines are shorter to use these machines, but each person takes more time at each computer than they would have if they had just walked up to a counter and had someone behind the counter do it for them, whether they have bags or not.

I don't know, really. Maybe it'll be faster in like 5 years, but unfamiliarity with the machine makes each person slower than an employee who does it every day, you'd think. :confused:


PS: I'll admit that I still use self check-in whenever I can just because I think it SHOULD be faster. :eek:
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
I do think it depends on how the airline have set it up. Having one or two self-service points and then one bag drop counter means that it can be no faster. British Airways have taken it to the opposite extreme - lots of self service machines and several bag-drop desks where it really is - scan boarding pass, print out baggage tag and that's it. And they've really cut down on the 'normal' desks to encourage use of the self service stuff.

I really prefer those where I can check in 24 hours ahead of time at home to get the seat that I want especially when I know the airline has the multi-fast bag drop desks.

I'll always do self-service with BA since it's quicker. If you fly the cheap fares on BMI, you have no option since the lower fare is dependent on you not using normal check-in (unless there's a problem with the check-in). Easyjet there's no point since you can't do it with baggage and even if you are going hand-luggage only, you get dropped to the back of the line when it comes to the big seat scrum.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,511
mkrishnan said:
And it worked great at that. Except that now in the United States, almost no liquids are permissible in carry-on luggage, and many other toiletries are also not permissible. So most of us cannot carry on our luggage, even if it is very compact and our stay very brief, if we are staying overnight. And so everyone is checking luggage, pretty much, at the moment.
That's not so. The rules were changed 2 weeks ago. You can again take toiletries on the plan.

TSA web site said:
On Tuesday, September 26, TSA Adjusted the Ban on Liquids, Aerosols and Gels

1.Travelers may now carry through security checkpoints travel-size toiletries (3 ounces or less) that fit comfortably in ONE, QUART-SIZE, clear plastic, zip-top bag.
2. After clearing security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.

At the checkpoint travelers will be asked to remove the zip-top bag of liquids and place it in a bin or on the conveyor belt. X-raying separately will allow TSA security officers to more easily examine the declared items.

Liquids in containers of 3 ounces or less may be carried in your carry-on bag so long as they are placed in a clear, one-quart plastic bag.

In addition, larger amounts of prescription liquid medications, baby formula and diabetic glucose treatments must be declared at the checkpoint for additional screening.

It is unlikely that additional changes in the liquid, aerosol and gel policy will be made in the near future.

This security regimen applies to all domestic and international flights departing U.S. airports. Travelers should, however, check with transportation security authorities in their country-of-origin for flights originating at non-U.S. airports.
Off to the No Clue line for you. :D
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
rdowns said:
That's not so. The rules were changed 2 weeks ago. You can again take toiletries on the plan.
Oh, I'm sorry, are they back off again? They were on, and then they were off, and then they were back on before I went to Vegas about three weeks ago. So I guess that makes sense. :eek:

EDIT: And awww, the No Clue line???? You'd stick me with all those annoying people who are trying to check in surfboards and kitchen stoves and motorcycles! :p I'll never make my flight at this rate!!!! :( ;)
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,932
2,532
St. Louis, MO
Yeah, you do have a valid point. When I flew over the summer, I used self checkin but there was no one in line so I was able to walk right up and hand them my bags. Its more useful for people who don't have anything to check and are just carrying on
 

xsedrinam

macrumors 601
Oct 21, 2004
4,346
1
mkrishnan said:
And it worked great at that. Except that now in the United States, almost no liquids are permissible in carry-on luggage, and many other toiletries are also not permissible.
On an international flight last week, I boarded in Miami and totally forgot about the liquid no-nos. I had a bottled Coke Light in my hand. No one said anything to me until a flight attendant spotted me drinking it on board. She said I really wasn't supposed to have any liquid with me, but since I was drinking it, she'd ask her crew manager. They let me go ahead and drink it.
 

dops7107

macrumors 6502a
Mar 19, 2005
995
0
Perth, Oztrailya
Abstract said:
By doing this, all I'm doing is making the person behind the counter do less work.
Exactly. Ostensibly it's all about cutting hassle for us poor beleaguered travellers. In reality it cuts the airline's costs.

As to whether it is worthwhile for the traveller... It all depends on whther you need to check bags in. There's no point in self-service check-in if you have to queue to identify yourself and hand over your luggage anyway. Easyjet have now introduced online check-in, which I may try next time, provided I just have hand luggage. But in the UK we still have hand luggage restrictions so if you actually plan on washing during your trip, and thus have some toiletries with you, to the check-in queue you must wander.

Besides, it all becomes insignificant compared to the security queues...
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,886
221
Harrogate
You can sometimes wait 30 minutes+ to check in at Heathrow. At worst you normally wait 5 minutes for the fast bag drop. And you can choose your seat 20 hours before the people checking in at the airport (BA don't let you choose your seat when you book on European flights).
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,252
477
NY
I love it, it saves so much time. It so easy, normally their is no line to drop your bags off cause no one uses it, I just flash my license and thats it. I just need to wait on the long security line...
 

apfhex

macrumors 68030
Aug 8, 2006
2,670
4
Northern California
Abstract said:
Does anyone else think it's a big waste of time?

And now that you can check in at home and just print out the boarding pass on a regular piece of white paper
You can do that now? :p I haven't flown for a couple years. Last time I did I used self check-in at the airport. It saves a lot of hassle from standing in line waiting to check-in. But all the time is taken up going through security, especially if you only have carry-ons. So... it doesn't save *that* much time, but any added convenience is better IMO.

Also, if the flight isn't crowded you might be able to pick a different seat, perhaps next to the emergency exit where there's a LOT more leg room (unless you don't fly coach, in which case, screw you rich bastards ;)).
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
I love the kiosks. At my Home airport there are kiosks right outside of the security checkpoint for people not checking bags. It's such a relief to completely bypass the Ticketing area altogether, since it's always a zoo. I also love how most airlines let you reselect your seats to any available seat. The fact that I can check myself into the best seat I can get has been great. On light flights it's easy to throw myself into the exit row.
 

robbieduncan

Moderator emeritus
Jul 24, 2002
24,886
221
Harrogate
apfhex said:
(unless you don't fly coach, in which case, screw you rich bastards ;)).
Well now you mention it I do have a BA Silver card which pretty much rules. I get to check in at the business desk even if I'm flying economy (so more or less no queue). Last time I did this I also got fast tracked through security (basically you go straight to the front of the x-ray queue) and I can use the business class lounge no matter what class I'm flying. Only 600 tier points a year required! Now only if it let you fly business when booking economy it'd be perfect :D
 

Lyle

macrumors 68000
Jun 11, 2003
1,874
1
Madison, Alabama
xsedrinam said:
On an international flight last week, I boarded in Miami and totally forgot about the liquid no-nos. I had a bottled Coke Light in my hand. No one said anything to me until a flight attendant spotted me drinking it on board. She said I really wasn't supposed to have any liquid with me, but since I was drinking it, she'd ask her crew manager. They let me go ahead and drink it.
Did you buy your Coke Light in the airport somewhere, after you'd already been through the security checkpoint?

The reason I'm asking is that after the latest round of changes (on September 26) this shouldn't have been a problem. I'm concerned about it because we're supposed to fly in about a month and I want as few surprises as possible. ;)
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,397
12,511
Lyle said:
Did you buy your Coke Light in the airport somewhere, after you'd already been through the security checkpoint?

The reason I'm asking is that after the latest round of changes (on September 26) this shouldn't have been a problem. I'm concerned about it because we're supposed to fly in about a month and I want as few surprises as possible. ;)
You can buy drinks after the security checkpoint and take them on the plane. All the stores after security had big signs stating that.
 

mkrishnan

Moderator emeritus
Jan 9, 2004
29,776
12
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
rdowns said:
You can buy drinks after the security checkpoint and take them on the plane. All the stores after security had big signs stating that.
So I know that the transition of more security details to the TSA was supposed to improve uniformity. And we've already discussed my behind-the-times-ness. But how uniform is this? I know that three weeks ago, I'm almost positive that at least one of MCO and LAS specifically forbade this. I think both of them, but I'm not 100% certain of my recollection.
 
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