"I fly a lot. A few thousand kilometers every week on average. I'm not proud of this, and as much as I remain fascinated by airports and aviation I'd really rather not fly so regularly. The reasons for regret are multiple, from family life to carbon footprint to the dismal lack of a high-speed rail alternative, but also because Qantas has an effective monopoly in domestic aviation in Australia. (As with many sectors here, privately-owned effective monopolies rule, from Qantas to Telstra to Coles supermarkets, which leaves punters with few of the benefits of either publicly-owned enterprises or of diverse, competitive markets. It's part of the reason why innovation in products and services is generally so thin on the ground in Australia.) As such, Qantas can deliver a patchy service and largely get away with it.
But, particular credit where it is due for their new frequent flyer check-in experience, which—at this admittedly early stage—is one of the most promising mainstream examples of touch technology and service design I've seen recently.
It was launched at Sydney's Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) about a month ago. I was there on the day before launch, heading up to Brisbane, and noticed the newly installed check-in poles under cover. On the following day I was there again, horribly early to head to Melbourne, and the system was live....."
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