Air New Zealand’s New Fast Check-In Process

Air New Zealand, Airport Experience, Technology

Air New Zealand recently rolled out its new check-in process for domestic flights, and I have to say that it takes the best ideas of Alaska’s Airport of the Future and expands upon it in all the right ways.

The idea is to keep people flowing through the system instead of creating dead-ends at ticket counters. Air New Zealand Check InAs you can see in the picture at left, the airline will have a group of kiosks where people can check in. The kiosk will print out bag tags and once the passengers tag their own bags, they just walk over to the conveyor belt behind and drop their bags off before heading on their way. No need to talk to a person at all, though that option will be there if need be.

Passengers can check-in via mobile phone, but frequent fliers will have another option. . . RFID tags. The airline is planning on giving RFID tags to frequent fliers to stick on the back of their mobile phones (or anywhere else they so desire). They will be able to just head straight to the gate if they have no bags and scan their phone as they board. If they have a bag, they can scan it at the kiosk at check-in. A small receipt will print out for their records.

This makeover will start in Auckland and then make its way to Christchurch and Wellington. If you want to get a really good idea of what it will look like, you should take a look at this short video.

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9 comments on “Air New Zealand’s New Fast Check-In Process

  1. CF- Thank you for the Hustle & Flow link, I’ve seen the setup Alaska has at SeaTac and it always seemed interesting.

    I wonder though if they hurt themselves by still having a regular check in counter? I know the first time I flew Alaska out of there I checked in at the counter. I came to the counter first, and given that I was checking a bag it seemed more efficient, but they just checked me in and then had me drop my bag off down at the Alaska gates.

    (I think it might actually be a Horizon counter, but given they’re relationship its like brown eggs versus white eggs, almost the same but not quite. My friend who works for Horizon will now disown me, but I digress…)

    As for their patents, aren’t they in some way violating their fiduciary responsibility by not monetizing them? If they can keep the competition from using their ideas that gives them a better customer experience. They could still improve licensing in a way that protects them, say only license it to airlines that don’t compete, or ones that compete, but not for use at airports that they compete at. They could even license it by airport, say Southwest can use it all around the east coast, but not on the SEA or OAK airports. Alaska could even kick around some type of hybrid system at MCO and the like and share the baggage loading piece with Southwest, but keep their own kiosks or something. (I’m figuring MCO might actually work better since Southwest has a bigger presence in MCO, and I don’t know the number of flights they’ve got.) Although then again asking Southwest and Alaska to play nice and share is like asking Delta and US Airways to speak to each other like adults.

  2. The Air Zealand Kiosks are actually IBM Technology. The kiosks are based on an IBM Netvista PC running Microsoft’s
    Windows 2000 operating system with a touch screen user interface. The IBM kiosk technology was modified by IBM Global Services for Air New Zealand.

    The processes around self service are not patentable, only the technology deployed which is the invention itself, there are about 6 vendors including IBM that sell this technology.

  3. Nicholas – From the looks of it, it seems that the ticket counter will be in a round area on the far side. So you’d really have to be seeking out the ticket counter if you want to check in, and it won’t look like a normal ticket counter anyway. I think they’ve got it set up right.

  4. Hi:

    Actually the new kiosks are IER as are the gate scanners for RFID and 1D / 2D Barcode.

    Our mantra for this project was “no queues” and we’ve pretty much achieved this. The new airport environment has been operating for five days now and peak times are flowing really well.

    A passenger with no bags to check can just go straight to gate and scan themsleves onto the aircraft using either a 2D barcode on an electronic ticket receipt (ETR), a 2D barcode sent to the mobile phone (using a bespoke J2Me downloadable application) or using our ePass which is the RFID tag.

    A customer with bags goes to a kiosk and identifies themselves with one of the above methods or simply with a credit card or entering their name into an on-screen keyboard. They then print their bag-tag and tag their own bag, pick up a boarding pass and drop their bag onto an open conveyor belt.

    Check out some great animated flythroughs on


    Stephen Jones
    Air New Zealand

    A pass

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