Welcome to the Self-Service World

By | July 24, 2012

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Everything in this world changes. As time goes by, we discover that more and more business interactions are being automated. This is simply the way things are going. Talking to a human being is now a perk, a frill. In fact, to many people, it is a customer service failure if automation prevents them from handling business themselves.

Whether or not that is a good thing is a bigger sociological question. But, what is next?

As the Seattle Times reported, several airlines, including Alaska and Delta, have explored the idea of self-service turnstiles. We suppose it works for the subways, why not the airlines? And humans will still be needed to make sure no one jumps the turnstile.

Why can’t we check our own bags already? The reason is security. Bags need to be inspected, and the human factor is considered a security check. If anyone could attach their own tag and weigh the bag, there is potential for abuse. The current pilot programs still require human checks.

Sometimes, people say the humanity has gone out of air travel. We always say that, while there are people who give customer service a bad name, it is the employees who keep the humanity in things. Kind words, friendly gestures…and unfortunately, we hear too many negative stories, because another part of human nature is, alas, to complain, but not make the same effort to compliment.

What do you think about this trend? None of us here at Flight Wisdom are anti-technology…in fact quite the opposite. But it seems a sad day when you might be able to get all the way from purchase to boarding the aircraft without having one genuine human experience. Of course, once you are onboard…so far, airlines haven’t figured out a way to get rid of the flight crew.