Next to complimentary upgrades, intelligent machines are perhaps the next-best thing to help enhance the travel experience for a road-warrior. Last August, Iberia Airlines of Spain unveiled Project Agora, an undertaking designed to improve the passenger experience for travelers passing through its primary hub at Madrid Barajas airport. The plan entails implementing more self-service tools so that the customer can feel more “independent” in managing all aspects of their journey, while also insuring that there are plenty of roving agents present waiting to help them with an inquiry.
One such innovation includes the new Quick Service Points touchscreen kiosk located near gates, where passengers can access information on airport facilities, flight information and directions to places of interest within terminals. Additionally, the interactive screen can also be used to re-print boarding passes as well as meal and hotel vouchers in cases of flight delays or cancellations. Quick Service Point screens are also present in the baggage claim area where passengers can scan boarding passes to check the delivery of their luggage, or arrange for delayed baggage to be delivered to a specific address.
Roving customer agents use iPads to check in customers remotely via the IBHelp initiative. The iPads are connected with check-in counters and kiosks to print off passes, and therefore circumvent queuing in the traditional way. Up for consideration are the adoption of mobile printers which the roving agents can use to print off travel documents, as well as a payment functionality to allow passengers to pay for up-sells such as upgrades and ancillary products or excess/oversize luggage.
The latest execution has been the installation of “smart scales” for weighing suitcases at Barajas’ Terminal 4. The intelligent scales allow passengers to weigh their suitcases to determine if their bags fit within the standard weight and size allowances. The scales are equipped with a minicomputer, which allows roving agents the capability to change the baggage allowance anytime with their IBPads through a 3G connection.