Qantas is testing a new “Next Generation” check-in service with premium members of their frequent flyer program in Sydney and Perth. This new ground service will enable their premium customers to bypass the lines and to speed through the check-in process.
Late last year, some Silver, Gold and Platinum members of their Qantas Frequent Flyer program received a Next Generation Check-In Launch Kit which contained a “Q Card” which has a RFID smart chip embedded in it and a “Q Bag Tag” luggage tag which also contains an embedded smart chip.
When a passenger gets to the airport all they have to do is tap their Q Card against a scanning post to check-in for their flight, then they can use the same Q Card as a boarding pass. Once they’ve checked in, all they have to do is drop off their Q Bag tagged suitcases at a self-service drop off point. No more printed paper bag tags.
American Airlines has been testing a self service bag tag at their kiosks in Boston for a few months now. Not sure that they’ll adopt the same process as Qantas, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point in the future they don’t start offering something similar.
You can view more videos of the Qantas Next Generation Check-In on their website. Ron Hill has a fascinating first hand review of the experience on his City of Sound blog.