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Airline penalises manual check-in

posted Aug 28, 2011, 7:30 PM by Dong Travel   [ updated Aug 28, 2011, 7:33 PM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
Thai AirAsia say it will impose the self check-in option on customers by surcharging them if they opt for a manual check-in at the airline’s counters.

It acknowledges that only 18% of all of its passengers use the self check-in kiosks, but it believes by penalising passengers who prefer to check-in at the counters it can raise kiosk use to around 60% by year-end.

Pick-up in the use of kiosk and mobile phone check-in is very low in Thailand mainly due to a perception that it is a hassle and might go wrong. Usually, airlines using self check-in kiosks at Suvarnabhumi Airport have to assign staff to take passengers through the process.

Thai Air Asia pioneered mobile phone and the use of self check-in as alternative to the traditional check-in but it is not making much headway gaining customer confidence.

Over the next three months the airline intends to reduce manual check-in counters from 18 to just four. Most of the vacant counters will be used just for baggage drop-off.

Check-in kiosks will be installed at all stations — domestic and regional destinations. Currently, it has 10 check-in kiosks: four at Suvarnabhumi Airport and the rest at Phuket, Chiang Mai and Hat Yai.

The airline has ordered another 40 kiosks for stations in Thailand and almost 200 machines for regional destinations in a bid to cut staff costs and fees paid to airports for check-in counters.

However, the kiosks apart from the initial investment will also cost the airline in space rental at each airport and the communications costs to link them to the airline’s reservations system.

To force passengers to change their check-in habits, the airline will charge an additional Bt100 for counter check-in unless the passenger is disabled and requires assistance.

Thai AirAsia CEO, Tassapon Bijleveld told the press, Wednesday, the airline hopes to cut queues and congestion at airport check-in stations.

“Congestion has caused problem such as delays, but the situation is very critical so we need to solve the check-in delays and congestion quickly,” he said.

He claimed the airline would not reduce staff.

“Staff just move from check-in to the bag-drop service.”

Source: TTRW