YUL2010
Topic Author
Posts: 309
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No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:44 pm

So here’s the story.

Starting May 1st, Air Canada is introducing 100% kiosks check-in at YUL, meaning that the traditional “waiting in line to check-in at the desk with an agent” method won’t exist anymore.

Passengers will now be required to check-themselves-in using the kiosks, which will print a boarding pass, and then wait in the “express baggage drop-off line” where the agents simply tag the bags and check the necessary documents (i.e., ID, passports, etc).

As an airport agent, I’m disappointed at management’s decision of implementing 100% kiosk use. AC believes that this procedure offers better customer service, as the agents will help assist the pax using the kiosks (therefore, more personal contact with the pax), rather than having the pax wait in line and getting served “robotically” by the agent. Moreover, Edmonton and Winnipeg have started using this method, and according to AC, it’s working smoothly.


Lately, we have had a couple of “testing days”, and here are my observation:

  • Most pax prefer checking-in traditionally, as they would like to speak to human beings and not machines.
  • Nervous and first-time travelers get really frustrated at us when we re-direct them to the kiosks. This goes against “customer service”.
  • There will be never enough agents to help assist ALL the pax using the kiosks.
  • The line-ups at the “express baggage drop off” are ridiculously long. Average wait is sometimes 10 to 15 minutes during rush hour, while company policy is max 5 minutes.
  • Montreal’s demography is complex. We have lots of ethnic minorities (Asians, Eastern Europeans, Arabs, Indians, etc), who are not fluent in English nor French. It’s been very hard to explain to them the new procedures, and I mostly find myself waisting a lot of time helping them at the kiosk, while it would have taking me half the time to check them in normally.
  • Montreal Station cannot be compared to Edmonton’s nor Winnipeg’s. We are much larger, and our passengers are different (reason stated in 5).
  • Out of the about 15 kiosks that we have, a couple are usually “out of order”
  • The system is not 100% efficient. If the program can’t recognize the passenger (must insert credit card, frequent flyer card, or reservation number), then pax must go wait in the “recovery line”



So having said that, as a passenger, how would you feel if you approached the queue line or my desk, just to be re-directed to the kiosks. I know most of us have traveled often, but put yourself in a non-regular traveler shoes.
Now, put yourself in my shoes, as an airport agent. I am forcing passengers to follow procedures I don’t believe in. They get angry at me, and all I’m supposed to do is smile and say I’m sorry. Although this is just a temporary job for me, I still find it sad that our jobs are simply being reduced to “bag tagging”. I feel stupid coming in to work. I just hope I get Gates Training soon!

YUL2010
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
StanstedFlyer
Posts: 113
Joined: Sat Jul 28, 2001 4:48 pm

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:52 pm

Soon we'll be checking in by a kiosk, going to the gate in an automated transporter, selecting duty free from a computer for delivery at destination, and flying autopilot from start to finish, all in the name of cost cutting! Horrible thought. I much prefer to speak to an agent, ask about the a/c, schedule, delays, upgrades, passenger load, seat changes etc. Imagine all that going on at a kiosk. Then there's also one less human security filter.
I flew out of YUL last month, and thought when they get the terminal finished it will be pretty nice. Some of the comments on arrival were 'welcome to Montreal, walk to Vancouver' because of the distance involved, but even if that is finished it will be a shame to not speak to anyone on departure.
View the photos by C Newman on Airliners.net!
 
yeggerman
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:27 am

Its pretty much the same thing in YEG for AC. There are I think 95% kiosk check-in. They have one counter for intl. flight check-in the regular way and one ticket counter to sell tickets and for standby-by travelers, but the rest of the pax have to use a kiosk to check-in if they want to go. They have 4 or 5 counters there that can be used for regular check-in but they put wall like stantions up in front of it so it is blocked off.
"All great things must come to an end"
 
JGPH1A
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:58 am

I expect the "recovery line" is going to be pretty long ! I love SSCI, it's a great time saver, but not for everyone. What if you want to through check on a seperate ticket, where the oncarriage has to be input manually ? What about special needs, pax with infants etc. 100% kiosk just isn't feasible, except maybe in high frequency shuttle environments, and even then it won't ever be 100%.

Silly AC  Smile
Young and beautiful and thin and gorgeous AND BANNED ! Cya at airspaceonline.com, losers
 
accargo
Posts: 576
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:11 am

It's not surprising that you don't like the check in kiosks, but it is the direction that things are going. There is not a lot that can be done to change that fact.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
Most pax prefer checking-in traditionally, as they would like to speak to human beings and not machines.

Tellers at banks said the same thing when ATM's came in, look at the usage now.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
Nervous and first-time travelers get really frustrated at us when we re-direct them to the kiosks. This goes against “customer service”.

This will become a small percentage of pax as time goes forward, and there will always be an agent available to help out, although there may be a wait to get that help.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
There will be never enough agents to help assist ALL the pax using the kiosks.

As people become more familiar with the kiosks, there won't be a need for that help.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
The line-ups at the “express baggage drop off” are ridiculously long. Average wait is sometimes 10 to 15 minutes during rush hour, while company policy is max 5 minutes.

More agents need to be working here then. Although I have heard that the kiosks can be set up to print the bag tags, and then the agent will be doing the asking the security questions and checking id's only.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
Montreal’s demography is complex. We have lots of ethnic minorities (Asians, Eastern Europeans, Arabs, Indians, etc), who are not fluent in English nor French. It’s been very hard to explain to them the new procedures, and I mostly find myself waisting a lot of time helping them at the kiosk, while it would have taking me half the time to check them in normally.

As before, there will always be a small number that need help, agents will always be available to offer that help.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
Montreal Station cannot be compared to Edmonton’s nor Winnipeg’s. We are much larger, and our passengers are different (reason stated in 5).

Every station has it's own different set of circumstances, YUL is no different in the respect that it has to get the pax ticketed, and onboard the acft as quickly as possible.


Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
Out of the about 15 kiosks that we have, a couple are usually “out of order”

You'll likely see more coming, there are lot's more than that at YYZ T2 and the new terminal has kiosks everywhere owned by the airport authority.

Quoting YUL2010 (Thread starter):
The system is not 100% efficient. If the program can’t recognize the passenger (must insert credit card, frequent flyer card, or reservation number), then pax must go wait in the “recovery line”

Most pax can and will use the kiosk as it can be faster than normal checkin lines. In the past pax have had to wait in line for 45min to 1 hour during peak travel times, if those waits are cut to 15 min. by using kiosks the company is ahead of the game.


After saying all this, I do understand how this new technology threatens many jobs. There is not a lot that can be done about that though. It is the direction the company has taken (other airlines are doing the same), and the CAW (checkin agents union) knows it is coming. It's no different from call centres closing as more people turn to the internet to book their trips. We don't like it, but it's going to happen nonetheless. As time progresses more and more pax will become comfortable with the new technology. They will come through the doors of the airport boarding pass already in hand as they checked in at home on their pc and printed up their boarding card on their own printer.

There's no comfort in what I say, and I'm not saying it to be malicious, I see changes coming in my area as well that may make my job obsolete, but I can only continue to do my job well, and hope that those changes provide me with new opportunities.
 
YUL2010
Topic Author
Posts: 309
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:18 am

What if you want to through check on a separate ticket, where the oncarriage has to be input manually ?

Yeah, well, there's two choices here. Eventually, when reaching the desks (either at the "recovery line" or the "express drop off line"), I would have to cancel all the bad tags, then add an on-carriage to the file, then re-print the bag tags. Not a big deal if it's a single passenger, but I often have to do it when it's a party of 6 (Cambodians...), YUL-YVR-HKG-PNH for example, and the last leg HKG-PNH is not on the file...

What about special needs
We have one counter for that... but you only go there after getting your boarding pass from the kiosks....

pax with infants
kiosks....

The only pax who will not be obliged to use kiosks are the Business Class pax, Star Gold, etc... 'cause according to my manager, "They pay us enough money so we're gonna leave them the choice".
Pretty bad eh?
 ashamed 
I'm just embarrassed to be in my uniform these days... speaking of which, I should get ready to go to work....
Is WestJet hiring these days? LOL
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
HiFi
Posts: 189
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2005 5:36 am

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:30 am

I had never heard of check-in kioks... I also don't agree it should be 100% kiosks, but it's a nice solution for frequent and experienced travellers.

Here in Brazil, GOL has a web check-in. Tickets are bought online, and if you register, you can also check-in online, and you just print the boarding pass. At the airport, you take a special line just to drop-off your bags, or you don't even wait in line if you take your bag with you on the plane.
no commercial potential
 
YUL2010
Topic Author
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 1:39 am

We all agree that it's extremely efficient for business, experienced and luggage-free pax... But it's not efficient for first-timers, groups, families, etc... You still have to wait in line... and sometimes, the "express drop off" lines are really really really long! It doesn't make sense!!

And everyday I hear the same thing from pax:
"So you mean that I have to check-in with that machine and then go wait in that huge line again to drop-off my bag? That's pretty stupid!"

You're right sir, it is... but that's the new procedure... sorry...
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
Samurai 777
Posts: 2000
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:32 am

I guess all of us have to get used to this sooner or later. I wouldn't be surprised if even Jazz starts setting up kiosks in smaller airports like in Whitehorse or Grande Prairie.

I'm sure when banks started setting up ATMs across Canada in the 1980s, there was probably a lot of grumbling among bank customers. But I think banks were setting up ATMs as an added convenience feature only to realize how much they saved them money later. I don't think bank ATMs eat cards or screw up as much as they used to, and I'd imagine the same will go for airline kiosks, too.

I did try using an AC kiosk twice a couple of years ago, but they just plain screwed up on me, no matter what I did. So, I had stayed away from them ever since. But sooner or later, I'm definitely going to have to learn to use them again, especially as someone who flies in and out of YEG. I think things will eventually work out for me.

YUL2010, do the express drop-off lines move faster than regular check in lines even if they're like a big snake? (or should I say conga line? :D )

And is AC in YYC and YVR going all or nearly 100% kiosk this year?

[Edited 2005-04-29 19:37:39]
 
ckfred
Posts: 4715
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 2:48 am

If I remember correctly, doesn't AC have international departures out of YUL? I know that for many U.S. carriers, passengers flying to Europe, Asia, and even Canada can't use kiosks, because an agent has to review passports and input information that is relayed to immigration at the arrival airport.
 
DeltaA380
Posts: 84
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 3:03 am

Three points, first to address Samurai777, the software of the kiosks are likely to be always improving and the computer will soon be smart enough to figure out how to process you correctly.

Secondly, I think ACCargo put it best overall and the emphasis has to be on being out there with the customer not behind the counter.

Lastly, my station still doesn't have kiosks (we are in the install process right now,) and that leads to a great deal of frustration for customers; customers want kiosks.
Vote Democratic in '06 and '08
 
planenutz
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 8:36 am

I suspect the expericne will soon be like that of SAS at CPH. The kiosks allow you to check in and print boarding passes, but additionally print out baggage labels for the passegner to affix themselves. You simply take your luggage to the baggage drop and leave it on the conveyey. When I checked in a couple of weeks ago, I didn;t see an agent until boarding, and even then all he did was insert my boarding pass into the electronic reader and wish me a pleasant flight to LHR.
Not all who wander are lost....
 
Biggles
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:09 am

Did any agents loose their jobs or get a reduction in pay ??
 
YUL2010
Topic Author
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 10:16 am

YUL2010, do the express drop-off lines move faster than regular check in lines even if they're like a big snake? (or should I say conga line? Big grin )


Ya slightly faster, but it's still a long line...

And is AC in YYC and YVR going all or nearly 100% kiosk this year?

Sooner or later I suppose.

Did any agents loose their jobs or get a reduction in pay ??


No, not yet, but a lot of employees are retiring this year, and AC won't hire new agents...
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
ac7e7
Posts: 655
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:13 am

I agree with accargo, bank tellers said the same thing. I have always used the kiosks and find them to be fantastic. Never had a problem.

Quoting YUL2010 (Reply 5):
I'm just embarrassed to be in my uniform these days...

Then you should find another job. AC has turned around, and if this means cutting down on paid employees, then so be it. If the airline can cut costs, do it. However, I do feel for you as well. AC has gone through some big changes over the last two years, and it can sometimes be overwhelming.
 
CanadaEH
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:18 am

From a WJ'ers point-of-view..

Kiosks are a great way of making the check-in process more efficient. However, any airline must provide alternatives (traditional and web check-in) to cater to its varied customers that range from children/elderly to ethnicities that aren't familiar with English. No airline will ever go 100% kiosk no matter how many agents they have "greeting" customers because having a traditional check-in available is good customer service.

More and more people are using kiosks, but many people still like the traditional way of checking in. If Air Canada feels that going 100% kiosks is a more efficient way of operating its airline I say its bad customer service.
EH.
 
patroni
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 11:31 am

When I flew from FRA last month every passenger with an e-ticket was directed to the self-checkin kiosks (which also print baggage labels). There was practically no queue at the baggage dropoff point, but the agent there still had to weigh the baggage and enter the weight in my booking. A very quick and positive experience.

A week later in AMS I saw KLM's kiosks which can even read passports and compare their data with the ticket. Unfortunately I was unlucky this time: The first machine "ate" my ticket without printing a boarding pass or any other document, so I had to look for a KLM agent who got the key to open the kiosk and get my ticket out. The second machine told me that my name in the passport and on the ticket were not matching (heh?) and printed a report with which I had to queue up at a service desk. Took quite long but the agent was an extremely friendly (and pretty  Wink ) lady, so it was worth the wait.

My personal conclusion: Even though I am a frequent traveller and not shy of technology I had my difficulties especially with the KLM kiosks. So I think it is definitely a mistake to replace all of the normal checkin desks with these machines.

Cheers,
Tom
(soon back to YUL, but not on AC)
 
nwaca
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:00 pm

Unfortunately, self service devices are the way it is all going to go. People check in for international flights and swipe their passports on the NW machines. From what I've heard and seen, as long as the passport reader reads the passport, it is a very quick and easy way to check most people in. It will be a cost saving device for most of the carriers. Paper tickets (which are getting less and less everyday) and machine kick outs for documentation checks will soon be the only behind the counter check in before long.
 
kdonohue
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:15 pm

YUL2010,

I flew through YYZ and YUL a few weeks ago, and my experience with the self-serve check-in was good, except the lines to get my luggage tagged were quite long. Although, they seem to have a good system at YVR, and the wait was minimal.

Maybe the self-serve kiosks are new at YUL, but by having to wait in a long line for the baggage check it didn't really save any time.

I think with removal of paper tickets, it was only a matter of time before ticket agent got replaced. People will get used to the machines, just as we get used to any new piece of technology. And after a while we tend to forget how we did things in the past.

K.
 
northwestair
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sat Apr 30, 2005 12:53 pm

As a Customer Service Agent I have my likes and dislikes of the Kiosks (SSD) Machine. These machine has relieved the stress from having to deal with every passenger that didn't need to speak with a CSA. I mean an Agent doesn't need to help check in a Business Person that travels 3 x a week he or she knows what to do. What is funny we had a Manager tell passengers that were on a Cnld flight to try to use the Kiosks to check in and the passenger just kept saying but the flights CNLD how do you check in for a flight that is CNLD when this was the last one of the night. The manager said, but the Machine will rebook you and give you a new boarding pass. Ya it rebooked you all right, for the next day. SO the SSD have their good points,but it just depends on what side you look at it. Somedays I love those little Bastards and some days I hate them. But Hey I used them when I pass ride so I really shouldn't complain to much.  Big grin
I don't care who you fly just as long as you fly
 
lincoln
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 2:31 am

Quoting DeltaA380 (Reply 10):
customers want kiosks

This particular customer doesn't want kiosks!  Smile

I'd much rather check in with a human... just makes me feel more comfortable for some reason (and yes, I do do 90%+ of my banking either online or at an ATM.). I would gladly pay a dollar or two more* if I could check in with a human and not be dragged over to a kiosk, and I've started actively avoiding airlines that are too aggressive in trying to force me to use a kiosk (AA, and DL in particular, CO is dangerously close).

The only system that annoys me more is "Delta Direct". Blugh. Spit. Spit. Spit. I want to talk to a human in person, not on the phone. If I wanted to talk to someone on the phone, I would have stayed at home and called res, not waited in line at an airport. I will not be flying Delta except as a last resort largely because of this "service" (well, and the fact that they misrouted my luggage, and were, as a whole, the least pleasant bunch of airline employees I've encountered).

Lincoln
* By "dollar or two" I mean < $10.00 -- I can't justify buying a full C, J or F class fare just so I can check in with a human... (I wish I could, but...)
CO Is My Airline of Choice || Baggage Claim is an airline's last chance to disappoint a customer || Next flts in profile
 
YUL2010
Topic Author
Posts: 309
Joined: Tue Jun 17, 2003 8:57 am

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 10:14 am

AC7E7

Quote:
Then you should find another job

I've been dreaming about this job for a long time. It's only been 3 months that I'm with AC, and I'm slightly dissapointed. However, it will never change my effort in pleasing customers, and I rate my customer service at 200%. I'm learning a lot about airport operations, and hopefully it will lead me to a new career within AC management or any other airline. So I don't think I'll be leaving my job any time soon.

CanadaEH

Quote:
However, any airline must provide alternatives (traditional and web check-in) to cater to its varied customers that range from children/elderly to ethnicities that aren't familiar with English.

That's my point exactly.


Just to update you guys on recent internal news, they are expecting this new procedure to hit YVR and YYC by the end of the summer, and YYZ and system wide by the end of the year.... ouch...

YUL2010
"Hotel November Oscar clear to land runway 24L"
 
Aviationman
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 1:30 pm

yul2010, I support you.....

Cheers!

Marcel
 
NLINK
Posts: 301
Joined: Sat Nov 15, 2003 3:20 pm

RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 2:44 pm

I wish all airlines would start charging a 10.00 fee or so to make people use the self checking machine. Most staffing is so strectched thin and 99% of the people don't need someone to check them in.
 
lymanm
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 2:47 pm

It seems it's a personal preference. From my perspective, kioskso have ALWAYS saved me time. I travel regularly domestically on AC using kiosks, and even transborder the kiosks save time. In fact, I even had a pleasant experience @ LHR yesterday using an AC kiosk. I suppose being relatively young and computer savvy makes the whole process a breeze, thus I suspect we could trace the level of comfort with the kiosks with generation gaps.

In response to the CSAs, I would argue it's bad customer service making someone wait in line for an unecessary amount of time. Furthermore, you cannot guarantee a 100% "pleasant" factor among check in agents. I've had many experiences in the past where a nasty/crabby CSA put a damper on the whole travel experience that obviously would have been rectified with using a kiosk.
buhh bye
 
AF-A319
Posts: 567
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 2:54 pm

I spent most of my afternoon/evening at YUL today. Two of my best friends were booked on AC to CDG. The check-in area was a total mess, and my friends were directed to an "aerocheck" machine.

They were told to use their credit card as an ID, but for some reasons, it did not work. Then, my friends handed their paper tickets to the agent, who has been unable to find the PNR on it (lack of training??!?). Finally, we retrieved the reservation, but the system told us no seat could be allocated at that time. When we talked with the AC agent, we understood that the flight was heavily oversold. We then waited for 30 minutes to talk to the flight manager. My friend had already been debarked one their way to YUL, and did not wish to repeat that experience.

60 minutes before boarding, we came back to the check in desk. 50 people were waiting for a seat allocation. A TOTAL mess. My friends were finally very lucky and got C class seats, but most PAX seemed extremely frustrated by the new procedure, and lack of information.

Overall, a very bad experience. We already miss the old system.

Cheers
 
alespesl
Posts: 561
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RE: No More Regular Check-in At Air Canada In YUL

Sun May 01, 2005 3:53 pm

I wonder how would the check in kiosk print my boarding passes all the way to my destination if my ticket is paper one and has following segments on it.

YYZ-FRA (AC) FRA-VIE (LH) VIE-PRG (OS) PRG-OSR (OK).

All this work would have to be done at the agent's desk who deals with bags.

Ales