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Page 13
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Findings." 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 14
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Findings." 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 14
Page 15
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Findings." 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 15
Page 16
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Findings." 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 16
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 3 - Findings." 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 17

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This chapter provides summaries of findings covering the two elements of the research process most relevant to the development of the Decision-Making Tool: the case study interviews and the verification site visits. The full analyses of these research results can be found in Appendix A. In addition, Appendix A provides detailed analyses of interviews with and documents gathered from various regularly and industry-specific sources. Summary of Case Study Findings Synopsis On-site case studies were conducted at 10 airports, involving seven associated airlines. For each case study site visit, an airline and/or host airport sponsored a set of meetings and tours at the respective airport locations. The research team typically met with strategic planning personnel, airline and airport operations and management staff, and other stakeholders. The research team also conducted airport site tours and recorded transaction analyses of the self- tagging operations. Table 1 provides a statistical comparison of each airport where case studies were conducted. Assessment of Business Case A variety of business cases were identified. Many airports and airlines indicated multiple moti- vations in pursuing self-tagging, while others indicated no clear driver. One group of business cases centered around the check-in process itself, with a focus on kiosk check-in, simplifying check-in, and expediting check-in. Another group dealt with improving customer satisfaction, which included reducing the dwell time required by the passengers, providing passengers with more flexibility in the check-in process, and catering to the desires of the airline tenants. Several issues regarding facility concerns were raised. These issues included reducing the peak congestion in the check-in lobby, making continual improve- ment in passenger flow, reducing the size of the check-in facil- ity, delaying construction of capital projects, increasing the throughput of the bag drop/check-in desk, and increasing effi- ciency within the existing infrastructure. While not a major factor, a few believed self-tagging would provide direct cost savings through a reduction in agent staff. Finally, competition with vehicle traffic due to the proximity of airports and the length of time spent in the airport was a key factor for one air- line to pursue self-tagging. 13 C H A P T E R 3 Findings Schematic bag drop.

Transaction Analysis On the basis of the information gathered and the observations made, two opposing trends were seen with regard to the efficiency of transactions. On one hand, queue lines were nonexis- tent and passengers would consistently check-in and drop their bags in just over 2 minutes with little reliance on agent assistance. On the other hand, queue lines would build and diminish much like traditional check-in counters, and passenger check-in and bag drop times would dif- fer greatly from 2 minutes to more than 10 minutes. Many factors were noted as being respon- sible for the variance in efficiencies. Key among these are passenger flow design from the kiosk to the bag drop, availability of options for passenger check-in, availability of services at the bag drop, reliance on agent staff, and attentiveness of agent staff. Operational Assessment Both common use and proprietary implementations were assessed, and while some specific issues were noted as being unique to the type of implementation, the vast majority of operational issues were not. One of the key differentiating factors was whether the owner’s approach to self-tagging was to make it the primary check-in medium or merely to add it as an option for passengers. The more aggressive approach of making it the primary check-in medium resulted in a mea- surably higher level of success due to a unified effort by staff and passengers to make it successful. In contrast, when imple- mented as an additional option for passenger self-service, it was noted that both passengers and agents would commonly revert to the traditional check-in process as opposed to adopt- ing the new approach. In all cases, the transition from tradi- tional check-in to self-tagging was a challenge for agents. The 14 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging Airport Code Annual Passengers Airlines Using PST Area for PST Duration with PST Amsterdam AMS 47,349,319 KLM, SK, International, (non-U.S.) Schengen (inter-Europe) 10 years Auckland AKL 6,576,838 ANZ Domestic, International 2 years Christchurch CHC 1,592,388 ANZ Domestic 1 year Dublin DUB 22,558,520 EI, SK International, (non-U.S.) Schengen (inter-Europe) 3 years Geneva GVA 10,755,253 EZY, LX, SK International, (non-U.S.) Schengen (inter-Europe) 12 years Montreal YUL 7,393,390 AC, WS, US Transborder, Domestic International 8 years Stockholm Arlanda ARN 13,281,542 SAS International, (non-US) Schengen (inter-Europe) 12 years Toronto YYZ 18,509,624 AC,WS Domestic, International 2 years Vancouver YVR 8,507,464 AC, WS Domestic, International 2 years Wellington WLG 605,617 ANZ Domestic 1 year Note: PST = passenger self-tagging. * Data taken from: ACI 2009. Worldwide Airport Traffic Statistics, December 2008, March 13, 2009. Table 1. Comparison of case study airports.* Aéroports de Montréal.

modified job function from transaction-centric to customer-centric required a significantly dif- ferent skill set. This resulted in the resignation of some agents and an increase in floor managers’ mentoring and coaching of the agent staff. From a business perspective, the transition often resulted in the need for fewer agents, a reduced salary requirement for the new positions, and a shorter training time for new agents. Passenger Assessment In general, it was noted that passengers who were likely to be frequent travelers, as evidenced by their level of comfort and familiarity with the airport, were highly accepting of self- tagging, while those who were less experienced with the over- all process either required the assistance of agents or opted to check-in through the traditional counters. The availabil- ity of agent support and the approach to providing assistance, whether it be teaching a passenger how to use the kiosk or redirecting the passenger to the counter, had a direct impact on the adoption of the process by new users. At least one air- line noted that, over time, as passengers learn the new system, the acceptance rate rises and processing time decreases. Facility and Installation Assessment A variety of installation styles were observed with variances in the check-in alternatives, lobby layout and flow, and bag drop designs. In the most extreme cases, web check-in was not available and check-in counters were only available for special circumstances, such as re-check and irregular operations, spe- cial needs, exceptions, and premium passengers only. On the other extreme, some implementations would allow full-service passenger processing at the bag drop designated for self-tagging. In most other cases, separate areas existed for self-tagging and traditional counters, each providing that service exclusively. Lobby layout and flow had a significant impact on the efficiency with which passengers moved through the self-tagging process. Some owners indicated that they were continuing to experi- ment with various flow models, while others had a definite pref- erence for a specific layout. All seemed to agree that less floor space was needed for self-tagging than would be required for the same level of processing through traditional counters. Another area of distinct differences was the bag drop design. Some instal- lations used a simple open bag belt for passengers to drop their bag, which required no activation or screening and the bag would be weighed in the bag room. Others used a fully automated baggage induction point allowing the system to measure, weigh, and screen the baggage prior to allowing the baggage into the bag room. Most used an agent- assisted bag drop in which the agent would validate the identity of the person dropping the bag, weigh the bag, and activate the tag before sending the bag to the bag room. Design Recommendations While the implementations studied varied significantly, a few specific design elements were found to have a significant impact on the success of implementation and passenger acceptance. Findings 15 Arlanda airport. Toronto International Airport.

Among these were a thorough understanding of the current passenger characteristics and resource requirements, implementation of a flexible baggage handling system, airport ownership and man- agement of the baggage system and infrastructure, use of kiosks as the primary check in mecha- nism, location of kiosks and bag drop situated in such a way that they pull passenger traffic away from the check-in counters, collaborative planning between the airport and airlines, and use of industry standards. Transference/Applicability to the U.S. In general, most of the information gathered during the case studies is applicable to the imple- mentation of self-tagging in the U.S.; however, a few specific issues have been noted that are not. Most of the issues that are not directly applicable relate to differing levels of concern regarding domestic issues in different countries. Included in these are security requirements for domestic travel, regulations regarding accessibility issues, and personal privacy concerns. Airport—Airline Partnering The research found that a good partnering relationship between the airport and airline was a key contributor to the success of self-tagging initiatives. Most airlines indicated a preference for installing dedicated systems but were willing to discuss the benefits of common use installations. In general, airports have been supportive of airlines installing dedicated self-tagging solutions; however, in order to support other carriers that will move to self-tagging, airports anticipate the need to provide a common bag drop. Technical Challenges with Self-Tagging Initially, technical challenges were experienced with many implementations; however, due to the experience of the airports and airlines with self-service kiosks, the issues were relatively minor. Some of the issues included problems with the integration of middleware with the backend sys- tems, delays in the printing process that allowed time for a passenger who was unfamiliar with the process to walk off before retrieving their bag tags, and development of the bag tag itself. Roadmap for Further Employments Though case studies were conducted for self-tagging programs at varying levels of maturity, several common visions were identified that provide a sense of the general direction in which self-tagging will be moving throughout the world. First among these is the support for the estab- lishment of an internationally consistent approach for passenger self-tagging. Second, carriers who provide self-tagging for domestic flights only are interested in expanding their self-tagging solution to international flights. With most of the case study locations, there is widespread inter- est in relinquishing more check-in counters in favor of self-service kiosks. In fact, new facilities are being designed around the plan for extensive use of self-tagging and reduction of check-in counter space. Also noted was that airports providing common use intend to continue adding more airlines to the self-tagging program. Finally, it was noted that there is growing interest by airlines for the installation of off-site self-tagging kiosks. On-Site Verification Findings With quantitative results obtained through case studies and other research, field verification of these results was then necessary to improve the quality of the final Decision-Making Tool for application within U.S. airports. Through a selection process described in Chapter 2 (Research 16 Guide to the Decision-Making Tool for Evaluating Passenger Self-Tagging

Approach), SEA and DSM were selected as ideal candidates. The two-fold objective of the on-site verification process was to (1) validate prerequisite information used and (2) obtain additional input to prerequisite information, if applicable. At both locations, the research team conducted a series of interviews with airport staff and management, partnering airline staff, TSA staff, technology solution providers, and other stake- holders. During the interviews, the research team reviewed the relevant prerequisite questions and presented early versions of the Decision-Making Tool. Both airport locations provided sup- plemental feedback on airlines, bag tags, facilities, finance, IT, kiosks, operations, planning, legal, regulatory, and security. In both locations, the perquisite information generally lined up with expectations of the U.S. airport locations. The research team found a much closer agreement at the larger airport site (SEA). This seemed reasonable, being that much of the information collected during the research process was also from larger airports. At the smaller airport site (DSM), the research team noted some differences in the existing pre- requisite information, along with additional information not considered at the larger airports. For example, questions arose regarding the following security-related prerequisites: • What are the changes in legal responsibility for acceptance of baggage by the airport? • Can the airport comply with passenger rights regarding checked bags? • Can the airport comply with National Aviation Security Program (NASP) Section 17 require- ments for hold baggage? • Is there increased risk to the airport due to liability for impact on airline operations and liability for safety in taking over Ground Handling Services? Using the feedback from these two airports, the research team was able to further refine exist- ing information and add new prerequisite information to the relevant areas of the Tool. Findings 17

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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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