Japan Airlines is looking to artificial intelligence (AI) and voice recognition technology to speed up the check-in process for its passengers, having begun trialling its use at the international check-in counters at Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda Airports on Tuesday.

The new service has been developed in partnership with consultancy company Accenture and involves the use of artificial intelligence and voice recognition in order to help respond to customer queries during the check-in process. The trial is expected to run until the end of March.

It’s worth pointing out that, unfortunately, at this stage the service doesn’t entail passengers being able to fully check-in by speaking to an automated machine. Rather, the service detects what check-in agents are saying to passengers using voice recognition and then brings up relevant information tailored to the passenger’s journey on their tablets in real time.

The aim is for the service to be able to “proactively answer passenger queries” and speed up the check-in process, the airline said in a press release. It will also enable check-in agents to better respond to passenger queries regarding luggage pick up for connecting flights, seat upgrade requests and the locations of airport lounges at passengers’ destinations.

Travellers’ interest in having AI at airports appears to be generally positive. An August survey published by market research and data analytics firm YouGov shows that 68 per cent of the travelling public in the UK would welcome the presence of AI at the airport.

Other airlines, meanwhile, have begun introducing automated customer-facing robots at their key hubs. Taiwanese carrier EVA Air notably has a robot called Pepper at both Taipei Taoyuan and Taipei Songshan Airports that provides information and directions to travellers.

Rival Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) has also been seeking to digitise some of its airport services, having trialled automated driverless buses at Tokyo Haneda Airport in January.

Japan Airlines will evaluate the results of its AI check-in trial after March to explore future full implementation across the two Tokyo airports.