Qantas introduced new airport check-in kiosks promising to be 'four times faster'

Qantas has unveiled upgraded airport kiosks at Sydney Airport, designed to make the check-in process four times faster.

The new technology will be introduced over a week at Sydney's Terminal 3 from Thursday, before rolling out to other Qantas terminals across Australia.

A total of 140 kiosks will be installed at major domestic airports by September, replacing all existing kiosks used to check in and print luggage tags.

The new kiosks will primarily be used for printing bag tags, with the airline noting a shift towards digitals services and the number of passengers checking in online increasing by almost 40 per cent in the last two years.

Stephanie Tully, Qantas group chief customer officer, said the existing kiosks were instrumental in reducing queues at airport counters when they were introduced over a decade ago.

"These new kiosks will match the latest technology with customer preferences," she said. "Understandably, our customers want to move through the airport and get to the lounge or boarding gate as seamlessly as possible, and the new kiosks will help speed things up.

Qantas' executive manager for product and service Philip Capps said the new technology has the ability to slash check-in times by up to 90 per cent for some customers.

"[Printing baggage tags] used to take around two to three minutes at the old traditional kiosks, whereas now it's come down to around 15 to 20 seconds," said Capps. "In that time, the kiosk will identify you, print your tag and you're ready to go."

Customers who haven't checked in prior to arriving at the airport will still be able to check in online via QR codes on the kiosks.

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"All you do is scan the barcode on the kiosk screen, and that will take you to your booking on your mobile device to complete your check-in on your phone. And then add your bag tag, and off you go," said Capps.

The kiosk upgrades come following a bout of airport chaos over the Easter holiday period, with lengthy queues and waits of up to three hours to check-in and pass through airport security.

New scanners, which do not require passengers to remove their laptops, liquids or gels, began rolling out in 2019 and can halve the amount of time taken to get through security. However, Sydney Airport is yet to roll out the new scanners and Melbourne Airport, which installed the scanners in Terminal 4 in 2019, has yet to install them in other terminals.

"It sort of reinforces our need to make sure that we address anything that is in our control. We want to make sure we're investing in the latest technology, the best software, so we can take steps out for the customer, and take out the stress and anxiety," said Capps.

The national carrier has also recently upgraded the functionality of the Qantas app.

"In recent months we've added a lot more functionality to the app as well, so we want to make the app your travel companion, where you can access points upgrades, change a flight, add frequent flyer details," Capps said.

"All of that now can be done in the app, and you can do it wherever you are – at home, at work, on the way to an airport – rather than feeling you have to come to an airport and queue."

Among the improvements to the Qantas app, is the ability to change flights after check-in, add frequent flyer number to bookings, request upgrades, and bid for upgrades with points.

This week the carrier also introduced a "fly now and pay later" payment option, as part of a new partnership with financial services provider Zip.

As part of the scheme, customers will also be able to earn Qantas points by signing up for a Zip account and buying eligible flights on qantas.com using Zip.

It's the first time the carrier has partnered with a "buy now, pay later" provider, and it comes as travel ramps up to destinations including the US, Europe, Bali and Fiji, according to Qantas loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth.

"The option to buy now, pay later through Zip gives our customers more choice in how they pay for their flights," Wirth said, adding that the scheme includes the ability to earn points on both the flight and the payment.

The new partnership adds to the airline's financial services products, which includes a number of frequent flyer credit cards, insurance, home and personal loans, a prepaid travel money card, and an investment and wealth management arm.

Qantas also announced an investment in online travel business TripADeal, that will enable frequent flyer members to use Qantas points to book holiday packages.

The carrier has bought a 51 per cent stake in the business to expand its exposure to the estimated $13 billion online packaged holiday booking sector.

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