Imagine a time when your holiday begins before you’ve even arrived at the airport. A time when you can check in your bags at home or at your hotel, travel without the weight of a suitcase bringing you down and enjoy your final day at your destination at your leisure. Well, that day is already here, at least for some lucky people in Australia.
Checking in before the airport
OACIS, which stands for Off Airport Check In Solutions, is an innovative solution to the age-old problem of luggage. The service is capable of taking your bags out of your hands from a multitude of locations, whether it’s as you’re disembarking your cruise ship, leaving your conference venue or even in the comfort of your own home before you set off to the airport.
Simple Flying caught up with Matt Lee, CEO of OACIS, to get the inside track on this somewhat revolutionary means of dealing with luggage. OACIS has been built on the Amadeus platform through ACUS, the common use protocol, which, as Matt explained to me, has made it easy to replicate around Australia and indeed the world. He told me,
“This has allowed us to create a service that brings together all the bits you would expect to be able to do at the airport, at the check in and bag drop, but performed at a location that suits the customer. The technology enables us and then we’ve built a product and solution around that technology.”
All the services of the check in desk, from the comfort of home
Matt explained that, through OACIS, customers can not only check in themselves and their bags, but can perform all the actions we would normally expect to have to visit the counter to do. This includes buying more baggage allowance, selecting a seat on the plane, upgrading and much more. Not only that, but OACIS can do all these things pretty much anywhere in the world.
“The way we operate, we’ve got three modes of operation. One is what we call fixed, which is where have a fixed location like a shop that’s conveniently located so passengers can come to the shop and check in there. The second mode is the popup mode. That’s where we come in, say to a school and set up, check in all the kids for their trip and then shut up shop and move on. It’s like we were never there!
“The third one is the mobile solution which uses a vehicle, so it’s really aimed at families, the elderly and reduced mobility customers in groups of up to a dozen people. In this situation, we might drive to a private house and pick up bags for you and other family members checking in.”
It’s a cool concept, and for anyone who’s ever attempted to get a large group through an airport and onto the plane, it’s a Godsend. So far, OACIS has handled a multitude of operations, from providing harborside check in for disembarking cruise ship passengers to operating a curbside popup right outside the airport to alleviate passenger traffic at very busy times.
— OACIS (@OACIS13) December 29, 2017
Could this be coming to an airport near you soon?
Clearly this is a superb innovation, and something we’d all like to try. But is this model replicable throughout the world, and can we expect to see it in more airports in the future? Matt told me,
“We’ve just launched in New Zealand; we’ve just completed the first phase of that with a three month trial at Queenstown … by the end of this year, we expect to have a presence in three of four of the main cities in New Zealand.”
That’s an incredibly fast rollout, and really that’s the beauty of a system like OACIS. Matt explained how the company designed this into its processes, creating something that was airline generic so it could rapidly be integrated into new locations in a matter of weeks rather than months or years. And the best thing about it is that the service only gets better as it rolls out to more locations.
“OACIS is based in Sydney, but thanks to the wonders of technology were very easily able to travel around the country. We’ve got a presence in Perth, in Adelaide, in Melbourne … we’ll be in Darwin later this year. As we built a presence in more cities, we’ll be able to check in your bag at your home and deliver it to your hotel. This will be a gamechanger for business travelers, as they’ll be able to go direct to their meeting without having to take a bag with them.”
Sounds good, and we’re fully sold on the idea that, by 2030, ‘checking in’ at the airport could be a thing of the past. For now, however, OACIS only exists in Australasia, so for the rest of us, we’ll just have to wait to enjoy the new airport experience.