BA self service check-in is not customer friendly

I'm just flying back from Newcastle on an early flight. Thinking it would save time this morning, I checked in using one of the new BA self service machines on Sat evening.

So it was a surprise to find myself in a long queue for baggage drop similar to check in & to go through an almost similar procedure as check in at the front desk.

The check in desk saving for the staff member must equate to less than 2 minutes. Multiplied up this obviously matters to BA.

However, whilst it was painless for me, there were long queues this morning for the machines, followed by queues again for baggage drop.

Many people were evidently finding the check in machine confusing & unwelcoming. They'd have clearly like to have dealt with a person.

Whilst I appreciate that in time people will get used to the machines, there's no obvious material service benefit to the customer of the machine, unlike an ATM. Is this how companies should operate?

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posted by John Wilson @ 7:12 AM Permanent Link newsvine reddit


At 10:38 AM, Blogger OxBowBusiness said...

Hi John, just found your Blog by randomly scrolling through other Blogs!

Why not check in on line rather than at one of those machines? I've done that many times and with several airlines and it really does work.

I haven't used Newcastle Airport in years, mind, so don't know aboutthe queues there. At Heathrow my maximum queuing baggage dropping time has never exceeded five minutes or so.

At 11:49 AM, Anonymous John Haynes said...

Hmmm... Yes, I've observed this myself many times.

In fact, sometimes these days, while it used to be quicker to check-in online and use the, er "fast bag drop", this option has now become so popular that this is no longer the case.

So while the new process is often good when getting on a BA flight at a foreign location (so a lower BA customer density I guess), at a UK airport, and particularly Heathrow I suspect that at peak times like early evening it is now possibly faster to check in the old-fashioned way (if you have baggage to check in, which due to the newer baggage regs. you are more likely to have to do)...

Actually a similar thing applies to UK government benefits access. In the olden days folks woudl go to the post office, queue up and collect their benefits. Simple and easy to understand process, even if teh queueing can be a nuisance (although for some was an important social connection to other in the queue also).

Nowadays the benefits are paid into a bank account, which (especially in the modern banking environment) can be a more complicated thing to understand. A relative of mine worked part-time for a local-area mental health charity for a while (around the time they brought the new benefit payment system in), that would assist people with various mental problems living in that local area. As you can imagine, some of these folk were struggling to understand the new systems that were forced upon them. Then they get a letter from the bank to say they've gone £10 overdrawn, etc., etc. and they fly into a massive panic, and so on...

Definitely a case of a new system and technology not necessarily benefiting the end customer at all I would say.


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