Notice: Function WP_Block_Type_Registry::register was called incorrectly. Block type "core/gallery" is already registered. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.0.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835

Notice: Undefined index: viator_tour in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/10up-gutenberg-migration/includes/SmarterTravel/Gutenberg/ShortcakeTranslator.php on line 70

Notice: Constant WP_CACHE already defined in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-config.php on line 137

Notice: Function WP_Scripts::localize was called incorrectly. The $l10n parameter must be an array. To pass arbitrary data to scripts, use the wp_add_inline_script() function instead. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.7.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/themes/smarter-travel/app/core/Locations/Types.php on line 166

Notice: Function WP_Scripts::localize was called incorrectly. The $l10n parameter must be an array. To pass arbitrary data to scripts, use the wp_add_inline_script() function instead. Please see Debugging in WordPress for more information. (This message was added in version 5.7.0.) in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-includes/functions.php on line 5835
Are self-service airports in our future?

The world is huge

Don't miss any of it

Travel news, itineraries, and inspiration delivered straight to your inbox.

By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

X

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

Are self-service airports in our future?


Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159

As the automatic doors part, you step into your familiar old airport. Except it’s not familiar at all. Gone are the ticket clerks, baggage handlers, and other airline personnel you’ve long depended on to get you and your luggage to your destination. You walk up to a kiosk and check in for your flight by waving your cell phone at a laser, then drop your suitcase into a chute, and proceed to security. You’re ready to fly and it’s only been three minutes, but you haven’t interacted with a soul.

The fictitious scenario above could become reality if the proposals for Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport come to fruition. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times (registration required), the unstaffed airport concept was “the big buzz among 300 airline and airport officials who gathered for a two-day conference,” called Check-in 2007, in Las Vegas. Other noteworthy ideas from the conference include “a common check-in area for all airlines” and baggage tags equipped with “a tiny radio transponder resembling a postage stamp that could be read several feet away, enabling the luggage to be tracked more accurately.”

While there’s no doubt new technologies could streamline the air travel experience, the totally self-service airport brings up a number of issues, similar to those raised by the introduction of rental robots at Hertz.

For one, if there’s no one around to help when the machines break down, what do you do? I’ve had very little success with supermarket self-checkout lanes, and don’t even get me started on the voice-recognition software many companies now use to respond to customer phone calls. And are airline officials really interested in improving the customer experience, or is the prospect of cutting labor costs really behind this push to automate airports?

I would argue that the current high levels of traveler dissatisfaction aren’t the result of airport staff being inefficient, but more likely due to an outdated air-traffic control system and poor airline policies for handling delays. Let’s hope the future brings more customer care, whether it’s from humans or gadgets.

We hand-pick everything we recommend and select items through testing and reviews. Some products are sent to us free of charge with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions and do not accept compensation to review products. All items are in stock and prices are accurate at the time of publication. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Top Fares From


Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 5 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 6 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 92

Notice: Undefined offset: 4 in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 98

Notice: Undefined index: pass_through_args in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 158

Notice: Undefined index: wrapper in /nas/content/live/stagingstmllc/wp-content/plugins/smartertravel-shared/includes/ads/includes/api.php on line 159