Mumbai Airport Rolls Out A Contactless Check In Experience

Mumbai Airport has rolled out a contactless check-in experience, allowing mobile phones to control the check-in kiosks. The new technology will enable passengers to get their boarding passes without interacting with airline staff or touching the kiosk itself. Could a relatively simple upgrade like this bring kiosks around the world back in action?

Mumbai Contactless Check-In
Passengers can use their phones to navigate the check-in kiosks, avoiding any contact. Photo: SITA

Frequently touched surfaces

In the time of COVID-19, airports and airlines are trying to avoid any frequently touched surfaces. Check-in kiosks have been one casualty of this push, since they are used by multiple people in a short period. Because of this, some airports have shut the kiosks down altogether, opting for an in-person check-in instead. Others have kept the kiosks open but require frequent sanitation to keep them safe for use.

India covid airlines
Some airports have reverted to an in-person check-in, with additional safety measures, instead of kiosks. Photo: Getty Images

However, some airlines and airports are pushing forward a new touchless check-in process. In the case of Mumbai Airport, passengers can scan a QR code on the check-in screen and use their phone as the trackpad. The keyboard function allows you to type in personal details, allowing for a quick check-in. Developed by SITA, an aviation IT company, the technology also allows passengers to avoid interactions with airline staff, reducing the risk for both parties.

Simple upgrade

What is particularly interesting about this technology is that it can be applied to current check-in kiosks and is just a software upgrade. This helps avoid costly investments in a time where airports are struggling with revenue. The new process is compliant with IATA check-in standards and can seamlessly come into action.

SITA’s new technology can be applied to existing check-in kiosks, making them cost-effective. Photo: Marek Slusarczyk via Wikimedia Commons

The technology is currently available at roughly 50 kiosks in Mumbai Airport’s Terminal 2. It seems that the technology is only applicable to domestic flights for now since international flights require an additional passport and visa check. However, if the implementation is smooth, we could see more airports add the feature.

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Race to a contactless world

Airports and airlines around the world have been rolling out touchless technology in the last few months. Japan Airlines is currently trialing its new check-in stations that use infrared technology to detect movement. Meanwhile, United already has a system where passengers just have to scan the boarding pass on their phone to complete check-in and bag drop.

Japan Airlines JAL Contactless Kiosk Systems
Japan Airlines’ new check-in uses infrared to track hand movement, which means passengers can operate the screen without touching it. Photo: Japan Airlines

However, the contactless experience doesn’t end at check-in. Airports are trialing biometric immigration and boarding to reduce contact with any person or surface. A more contactless world will be positive in the long run too, allowing for more efficient processing at airports. COVID-19 seems to have accelerated a previous trend, albeit with much more emphasis on health.

What do you think of the new touchless experience? Are you a fan of it? Let us know in the comments!