American Airlines is providing customers a new, touchless experience to check-in luggage ahead of a flight. This is part of the airline’s broader commitment to using technology to simplify the travel experience. And, amid the airline’s response to the global health crisis, the carrier is rolling out the touchless check-in experience starting today.
The new touchless check-in
The airline announced the rollout of the new experience via a press release viewed by Simple Flying. Primarily, the streamlined process impacts those who are checking a bag before their flight.
Via the American Airlines app or website, before your flight, you would check-in and indicate how many bags you plan on checking for your trip. Any potential baggage fees you would pay then. At the airport, you would scan your boarding pass at the kiosk. Here, bag tags will be printed automatically, which you can attach to your bag yourself and drop it off at the baggage drop.
American is rolling this out as part of a health and technology package. Fewer interactions put fewer of the airline’s employees and customers at risk of contracting a viral illness.
For people without a checked bag, the check-in process is entirely touchless. Passengers can check-in for their flight using the American Airlines app and then make their way straight to security without having to head to the AA check-in counters.
Where will this be rolled out?
The new process is rolling out across more than 230 airports in the airline’s network. Regardless, the airline will have representatives available to assist you in case of any issues during the process.
The automatic baggage tags will not work on international flights or flights booked on multiple itineraries. You will need to speak to an agent to work with checked baggage then. In addition, the online check-in does not remove any weight restrictions on the bag. You may be forced to pay extra or else have your bag denied if you are over a certain weight limit.
For most people, however, this process should work out just fine. The rollout of this process amidst a decrease in travel demand gives American a chance to test the system out and smooth out any kinks before millions of people start traveling each day.
A health commitment
Every major crisis reshapes the airline industry. After 9/11, airlines and airports made huge security-related improvements. Following the financial crisis of 2008, airlines merged and consolidated, strengthening core hubs and eliminating inefficient or unprofitable operations. After this one, airlines will have to take long-term measures to ensure passenger safety.
There are several practices that airlines will likely keep long-term. While masks will probably be one of the first to go once public health guidance indicates the virus is no longer engaged in an uncontrolled spread, some others are worth staying. Airlines will likely keep some enhanced cleaning protocols such as electrostatic spraying (which American is doing).
Other protocols, such as touchless check-in, will definitely stick around. It makes the travel experience more efficient and reduces the number of interactions in which illness could be spread.
Are you excited to see the new touchless check-in process from American? Let us know in the comments!