Alaska Airlines Tests New Technology at San Jose Airport

Alaska Airlines is testing new technology to improve the travel experience at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport.

The airline hopes to modernise the airport experience by providing passengers with more efficient procedures for check-in and boarding, including a faster check-in and self-bag drop system and the opportunity to board flights with facial recognition technology.

Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines SVP of merchandising & innovation, said:

“As we grow our airline and fly more people to more places, we are looking for unique ways to create a seamless travel experience for our guests. We’re using tech to also empower and equip our employees with the latest tools to offer the most caring service for our guests. California is the epicenter of tech and the perfect place to test out these innovations.”

Faster Check-In and Self-Bag Drop

Alaska Airlines are currently testing a new check-in and self-bag drop system at San Jose Airport to simplify the check-in process and decrease the time passengers spend dropping off bags.

The new technology aims to half the amount of time passenger’s spend in the airport’s lobby and give guests more opportunities to bypass congested areas.

San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo said:

“Alaska Airlines’ use of emerging technology to enhance and streamline the passenger experience at San José Mineta International will provide more seamless transit of flyers coming to SJC—and create a more welcoming gateway to San José.”

The airline’s new system uses Apple iPad Pros that allow passengers to quickly scan a boarding pass and print bag tags to self-tag their bags. Customer service agents are also equipped with iPad Minis to assist passengers at any Alaska Airlines touchpoint.

Alaska Airlines technology
To use the tablets and save time checking bags, guests will need to check in for their flight online and pay for their bags before arriving to the airport
Jain said:

“Alaska was the first airline to implement self-serve airport kiosks in 2007—and we hope to be the first to remove them. Simply because we’re our best when we can meet guests where they’re at and be able to take care of them the second they enter our space.”

Boarding with Facial Recognition

Alaska Airlines is now using biometric technology to speed up the boarding process for international flights from San Jose Airport. The facial recognition procedure is currently available for flights to Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, and Guadalajara.

Rather than having to hand over their passport and boarding pass to an agent at the gate, passengers who choose to board using facial recognition can quickly board the flight once their face has been scanned.

Jain said:

“Boarding with biometric technology uses facial recognition to verify identity and shorten security procedures for those passengers who opt into the programs. For guests who are concerned about security, we do not retain any imagery and offer our guests the opt-in option to use biometrics. While it will never be mandatory, we believe it is the future of travel.”

Alaska Airlines Facial recognition technology
On average, the use of biometrics during the boarding process saves guests up to five seconds and the hassle of finding a boarding pass when their hands are full

These technology improvements are the first of many that Alaska Airlines intends to test at its new “tech incubator” at San Jose Airport.

Sam Frost, lead customer service agent at SJC, said:

“I am excited to shape the future of the industry with our new tech. It will ultimately make our guests feel more in control of their journey and align our guest experience with the retail spaces of leaders in the tech industry like Apple and Microsoft.”

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