Alaska Airlines' Airport of the Future makes quick work of getting passengers through check-in.
The results? During my two hours of observation in Seattle, an Alaska agent processed 46 passengers, while her counterpart at United managed just 22. United's agents lose precious time hauling bags and walking the length of the ticket counter to reach customers. Alaska agents stand at a station with belts on each side, assisting one passenger while a second traveler places luggage on the free belt. With just a slight turn, the agent can assist the next customer. "We considered having three belts," White says. "But then the agent has to take a step. That's wasted time."
Alaska, then, is likely to save almost $8 million a year on the Seattle terminal if it converts customers the way it has in Anchorage. The Seattle makeover cost $28 million, a far cry from a new $500 million terminal.