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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
×
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Page 7
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
×
Page 8
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Background." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2011. Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/14470.
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Page 9

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Historical Overview From the beginnings of commercial aviation until the early 1980s, the check-in process was ostensibly the same: an airline agent sold tickets, manually allocated a seat for the passenger, checked documents, weighed bags, and printed the boarding pass. Check-in could be a long process at a counter in the airport and often included waiting in long lines. In the 1980s and 90s, a degree of automation enabled the airline agent to perform these tasks more efficiently, but these improvements had little impact on the traveler in terms of waiting and processing times. In response to increasing facility demands, common use terminal equipment (CUTE) was introduced in the mid 1980s. The first widely used and accepted common use system software was IATA’s CUTE. It is known as an “agent-facing” system because it is used by airline agents to manage the passenger check-in and boarding process. Whenever an airline agent logs onto the CUTE system, the terminal is reconfigured and connected to the airline’s host system. From an agent’s point of view, the agent is now working within his or her airline’s information technol- ogy (IT) network. CUTE allowed bag tag and boarding card printing protocols to be translated so that they could be used over shared terminals and printers at ticket counters and gates. For the passenger, the use of CUTE is at first relatively transparent, since the passenger does not directly interact with the CUTE. However, when implemented correctly, CUTE and the other common use solutions provide a more efficient use of the airport facility, which ultimately improves the passenger experience at that particular airport. Because CUTE could be used by all airlines, it became possible to reallocate counter use, enabling the reduction of queues dur- ing peak periods. CUTE was first implemented in 1984 for the Los Angeles Summer Olympic Games. From 1984 until the present, approx- imately 407 airports worldwide have installed some level of CUTE (Transportation Research Board, 2008). Today, the IATA, Airports Council International (ACI), and the ATA have all approved the replacement of CUTE with the common use pas- senger processing system (CUPPS). Starting in the 90s, airlines began self-service in the form of kiosk check-in at airports as a way to avoid long queues and improve operational efficiencies. These kiosks provided the ability to relocate the check-in process away from traditional check-in counters. Passengers could check in and print board- ing passes for flights in places that were previously unavailable. 4 C H A P T E R 1 Background Los Angeles International Airport.

At the onset however, passengers typically avoided the use of these kiosks. For the airlines, train- ing and education of its passengers was needed to encourage kiosk use. Moving into 2000, air- lines continued their trials and deployments with dedicated check-in kiosks, both in function and placement. The late 1990s and early 2000s marked a time when airport capacity and airport-capacity plan- ning were high priorities. Increased passenger counts at most major U.S. airports, along with increased flight activity, were causing demand for higher capacity passenger facilities. During these times, construction of new gates, concourses, and terminals were considered. It was also during these times that common use at U.S. airports began to enter more heavily into the dialogue. Many U.S. airport operators were aware of the use of common use outside of the U.S., and these strate- gies were starting to be considered at more U.S. airports. Airports such as Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, JFK Terminal 4, as well as Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport, were esteemed as examples of common use within North America. Those airports that implemented common use began implementation at limited locations, usually driven by international air traffic, and even began considering implement- ing common use in their domestic gates and terminals (Transportation Research Board, 2008). Recognizing the expanding use of the self-service check-in kiosk, and in an attempt to help airports manage facility con- gestion, IATA published in 2003 the Common Use Self Service (CUSS) Recommended Practice. As per the IATA CUSS Recom- mended Practice 1706c Version 1.1 (2007), the basic idea of the CUSS concept was to enable airlines to provide passenger ser- vices at a shared kiosk. Like the dedicated check-in kiosk, CUSS kiosks were typically located either at or near the check-in coun- ters, or within queuing stations in the check-in areas, but other examples of kiosk locations included parking garages, rental car centers, and even off-site locations such as hotels and conven- tion centers. As of February 2010, 149 airports worldwide have CUSS installed (IATA, 2010). At approximately the same time as the introduction of kiosk check-in, airlines introduced an Internet check-in process (web check-in). Alaska Airlines was the first to offer online check-in. The system was first offered on a limited basis start- ing in September 1999 and was available to the general public on selected flights a month later. Web check-in is the process in which passengers confirm their presence on a flight ‘online,’ and typically print their own boarding passes. This process allowed the traveler who did not have any bags to check to skip the airport check- in process and proceed straight to the gate. Over time, airlines have expanded their offerings, both through web check-in and through self-service kiosk check-in. Today, depending on the airline and the specific flight, passengers may enter details such as meal options and baggage quantities, select their preferred seating, pay for upgrades, and other options. For the airlines, use of these self-service systems allows for a more efficient operation, with a greater ability to cope with surges in passenger numbers. The systems also lessen activity at the airport, saving airlines money and reducing passenger waiting times. To encourage airline innovation, IATA began a program in 2004 called Simplifying the Busi- ness (StB) (IATA 2008). StB’s objective was to simplify processes and better utilize technologies in order to promote efficiencies and decrease costs. Some of the initiatives in StB affected and improved the check-in process, and included Background 5 Las Vegas McCarran International Airport.

• Electronic tickets: This first StB initiative moved the industry from paper-based tickets to elec- tronic tickets (e-tickets). With e-ticketing, a passenger only needs a ticket number and does not need a document issued by the airline or a travel agent to commence travel. E-ticketing began in 1994 with United Airlines. In 2004, when StB began, only 20% of all issued tickets were electronic. All airlines met the initiative and were capable of issuing e-tickets by 2008 (IATA, 2008). • Bar-coded boarding passes: This second StB initiative mandated that bar-coded boarding passes (BCBP) replace magnetic stripe boarding passes and allowed customers to print their own boarding passes at home (IATA, 2008). Checking-in and printing boarding passes at home allowed a customer with no hold baggage to avoid the queues at check-in entirely by allowing the customer to proceed directly to the gate on arrival. All IATA members are mandated to use 100% BCBP by the end of 2010 (IATA 2009). Globally, airlines are continuing to encourage their passengers to perform their own check- in, both through self-service at the airport and web check-in. Agent check-in will likely remain for those passengers who need assistance, but it is possible that they will have to pay extra for the service. For example, a growing number of airlines charge passengers if they do not use web check-in. Current State of the Industry Going into 2010, IATA StB [or Passenger Experience Management Group (PEMG) as the pro- gram is now called] is working on other initiatives. One of their initiatives, the Fast Travel Initia- tive, encourages more self-service options, both in response to passenger requests and for poten- tial savings to the industry. The Fast Travel Initiative expands self-service options at airports, as shown in Figure 2. These have not yet been widely implemented, but the initial goals for 2009 have been met. Other innovations are being developed and implemented that further facilitate passenger check-in, including • Issuance of permanent radio frequency identification (RFID) bag tags by airlines, • Permanent RFID tags embedded in luggage, • Remote check-in at hotels and other off-airport venues, • Use of biometrics to identify passengers, and • Boarding passes on mobile phones. 6 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging Figure 2. IATA Fast Travel initiative.

The process changes expected as a result of changes in passenger check-in are shifting further away from the original ticket counter with airline agent and the resulting queues. Tickets and boarding passes are no longer controlled documents and can be printed by the passenger at home, or even presented on a mobile device. As time progresses, it is expected that passenger check-in processes will continue to move off the airport through technologies and processes such as increased web check-in and remote check-in facilities. Bag tags are also moving toward being uncontrolled documents, so that they may be self- applied at the airport, or, eventually, printed at home. One innovation activates the bag tag only when the bag is inducted into the baggage system, allowing positive match of passenger with the bag. Other measures include reconciliation of the passenger and the bag before departure. The ACI-NA Working Group, in cooperation with the IATA Bags Ready to Go Working Group, continues to drive the standards and guidelines for passenger self-tagging. Through the joint effort of IATA and ACI-NA, key documents such as the Recommended Practice 1701f, Self Service Bag- gage Process, version 1, have been prepared. The working groups are currently focusing their atten- tion on the preparation of an Implementation Guide and the establishment of U.S.-based airport and airline pilot programs. In support of future self-tagging pilots, the TSA is working closely with IATA and ACI-NA toward the preparation of U.S. airport and airline work plans, which is required by the TSA prior to the start of the pilot program. Many U.S. airports and airlines have voiced their support and are reviewing internal schedules in order to move forward (IATA, 2009). It appears as though U.S. airports and airlines will begin passenger self-tagging pilots by the end of 2010. Supporting this effort, IATA is working toward a mid- to late-2010 release date for version 1 of its Implementation Guide. A primary goal of both the Implementation Guide and pilot program is to establish a consistent approach to passenger self-tagging implementations, such that the TSA can support future, permanent U.S. airport installations. In full support of this effort, the TSA is participating in planning meetings with IATA and ACI. Also during 2010, TRB funded and organized the production of this project, Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging, which has lead to this report. The timing not only coin- cides well with the passenger self-tagging planning and implementation work currently under way by leading aviation associations, but it also builds on these efforts by providing users with the sup- port tools necessary to make informed decisions. In doing so, this report incorporates the most recent and relevant passenger self-tagging information into the Decision-Making Tool provided with the report. Passenger Self-Tagging Implementations—Common Use or Exclusive Use Passenger self-tagging, by itself, does not dictate the need for common use. The process steps between an exclusive use and common use environment are essentially identical from a passenger’s standpoint; however, the various airline and air- port procedural requirements create differences from a pas- senger processing perspective. The main passenger process steps are self-service kiosk check-in, baggage induction (bag validation and bag drop), and baggage sortation. While each airline has different check-in procedures that affect how the kiosk applications are written, the key differences between Background 7 JFK—Terminal 4.

various airline and airport procedural requirements reside at the point of baggage induction and the baggage sortation process, for example: • In a purely exclusive use environment, where the bag drop and baggage system are controlled or used by a single airline, an airline employee assumes the responsibility of weighing a bag, activating a bag tag, and supervising the induction of the bag into the baggage system. At that point, the bag is processed according to the specific airline’s sortation rules. • In a purely common use environment, where the bag drop and baggage system are controlled by the airport and configured for use by multiple airlines, an airport employee or authorized agent assumes the responsibility of weighing a bag, activating a bag tag, and supervising the induction of the bag into the baggage system. Along with these key differences, there are implementation variations where common use and exclusive use models co-exist, resulting in a potentially complicated process environment. Exam- ples include • Common use installed for the self-service kiosks only with the remaining process steps exclu- sive use; • Common use installed for the agent check-in positions only with the remaining process steps exclusive use; • Common use installed for both, self-service and agent check-in, with baggage induction exclu- sive use; • Common bag drop installed, with exclusive use check-in areas; and • Varying combinations of the above. While this basic check-in process is the same for all airlines, there are varying procedures that each airline may require. For example, one airline may require airline employees be physically involved in the baggage induction process, while another airline is comfortable allowing the air- port to provide the staff necessary to maintain and operate the baggage induction process. Another example of varying procedures is the differing rules for excess and overweight baggage charges by each airline. A common use bag drop must be capable of accommodating all airline rules and procedures. A key challenge here is that airport employees or authorized agents must be able to process baggage for differing airlines using each airline’s rules and procedures for bag- gage handling. Along with varying procedures, there are also technical differences to consider and potentially resolve. For example, if the self-service kiosks are common use, there may be a need to develop a workaround for airlines operating on common use self-service kiosks that do not have bag-tag printing capability. For common bag drops, technical issues include supporting multiple airline business processes, such as baggage limits, fees, and handling priority. The other technical process difference is seen at the self-service kiosk. For common use, the industry primarily uses IATA CUSS standards. CUSS supports the self-tagging technical require- ments, such as bag-tag printing. Most U.S.-based airlines, however, have not added bag-tag printing functionality to their kiosk applications, which impacts both exclusive use and com- mon use environments. In an exclusive use kiosk, the airline will determine when and if bag-tag printing functionality will be added. In a common use self-service environment, if the airport chooses to implement self-tagging, then the airport (or airline) may have to develop a technol- ogy work-around to provide the self-tagging functionality for the airlines that are operating on that kiosk, until such time as the airlines add functionality to its host applications. This work- around usually involves intercepting the print stream requests, creating baggage sortation mes- sages (BSMs) and developing a process that allows the BSMs to be “inactive” until such time as the bag tags are activated into the sortation system. Generally, these work-arounds are complex and can be prone to defects. 8 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging

After the bag has been accepted, the common use baggage system must process each bag based on the different sortation rules for each airline. These rules can be further complicated based on differing security regulations for the same airline’s baggage depending on the departing airport and baggage destination. This necessitates a sortation system capable of scanning, screening, labeling, weighing, and diverting bags based on programmable sets of rules that are specific to each airline. One final characteristic distinguishing common use from exclusive use is the impact to rates and charges, and the overall business case. Background 9

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TRB’s Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Report 41: Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging provides the information and tools, included on and accompanying CD-ROM, necessary for an airport or airline to determine the appropriateness of pursuing passenger self-tagging should it be allowed in the United States in the future.

The tools, in an Excel Spreadsheet format, allow for the input of airport-specific information, such as facility size and passenger flows, while also providing industry averages to assist those airports and airlines that haven’t yet collected their individual information. The decision-making tools provide both qualitative and quantitative information that can then be used to assess if passenger self-tagging meets organizational needs or fits into their strategic plan.

Appendix A to ACRP 41 was published online as ACRP Web-Only Document 10: Appendix A: Research Documentation for ACRP Report 41.

The CD-ROM included as part of ACRP Report 41 is also available for download from TRB’s website as an ISO image. Links to the ISO image and instructions for burning a CD-ROM from an ISO image are provided below.

Help on Burning an .ISO CD-ROM Image is available online.

Download the .ISO CD-ROM Image.

(Warning: This is a large file that may take some time to download using a high-speed connection.)

A errata for the printed version of this document is available online. The errata material has been incorporated into the electronic version of the document.

View information about the February 9, 2010 TRB Webinar, which featured this report.

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