United Airlines is bringing self service boarding machines to Boston

United Airlines is bringing the future to its new gates at Logan International Airport in Boston.

Next week, United will open its new 10-gate facility in Terminal B. For the most part, it’ll look like any other airport, albeit a bit newer. But there’s one major caveat. United is bringing some intriguing self service elements to its Boston facility.

According to United, eight of the terminals 10 gates will be outfitted with self-boarding units. These will allow customers to board flights by scanning their own boarding passes. United says this will mean faster boarding.

These are common in Europe — Lufthansa uses them — but we don’t see them much in the United States. I asked United if they would share a picture of the Boston setup with me, but a spokesman said I’ll have to wait until April 30, when the facility opens.

Lufthansa uses self-boarding at its German hubs. But will it work in America? Photo: Thomas Woodtli, via Creative Commons.

Lufthansa uses self-boarding at its German hubs. But will it work in America? Photo: Thomas Woodtli, via Creative Commons.

United is also bringing self bag tagging to Boston. That’s a more common approach these days. It saves airlines a bit of employee time, as workers no longer have to actually put the tag on the bag for you. I don’t think passengers mind the extra work.

“Our research shows that nearly half of all passenger requests fielded at our customer service centers can be resolved without the help of an agent,” United says on its website.

United is spending $30 million on its Boston terminal. Massport, the landlord, is paying the rest of the costs — $172 million. The project also includes a new United Club.

What do you think of the self service elements? A good step forward?

Want more on the Boston terminal? The local CBS affiliate did a story last month.

 

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  • Jason

    If the customer profile on a given flight is from a city that sees high usage of public mass transit (e.g., a BOS-NYC flight), the self-boarding process of scanning, pausing for the door to open, proceeding through, and allowing it to close behind (and not on!) you is familiar. But if customers are not familiar with public transit (i.e., LAX-LAS), the process will be cumbersome and clunky at best!