Japan Airlines (JAL) has announced a plan to introduce self-service bag drop machines and facial recognition technology at Tokyo’s Narita Airport in an effort to shorten the time required to board an aircraft.
The new services are in line with the airline’s “JAL Smart Airport” concept. A spokesman from JAL told Business Traveller Asia-Pacific that this concept is “based on the utilisation of IT to provide a smooth check-in process, and the company will add resources (human services) to areas in need”.
With this new concept, JAL aims to “feature a calm and no-hassle airport experience and provide multiple options to match the needs of every customer and support desks where needed”.
Beginning October 28, JAL’s passengers will be able to check their baggage through the self-service baggage system at Counter O in Narita Airport Terminal 2.
There will be seven machines available for use. This will allow travellers to drop their bags directly after finishing check-in at the airport’s automated kiosks. The airline says another seven machines at Counter M will be available for use in April 2020.
Narita Airport announced its plan to implement smart check-in services throughout the airport in August, with a total of 72 self-service bag drop machines to be installed in all terminals before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
According to the airport, there will be 28 self-service bag drop machines at Islands O, H, M and E in Terminal 2. The machines at Islands H, M and E will be available for use progressively next year. Passengers travelling with Cathay Pacific, American Airlines, Qantas, Emirates and Finnair will also be eligible to use these machines.
JAL will also implement facial recognition technology services at Counter K, security screening entrance and boarding gate in Narita Airport Terminal 2 in spring 2020.
During the initial check-in process, travellers will have their facial data collected. Then they will be able to proceed through security and board the aircraft without the need to present their travel document. This is known as the “One ID” process. The airport plans to introduce this sometime in spring next year.
According to the airport, JAL will be the first participating airline in Terminal 2, while another major Japanese carrier ANA will also be the first participating carrier in the South Wing of Terminal 1. The airport says the participating airline and deploying terminals and wings will be expanded in phases.
Meanwhile, JAL has upgraded its special assistance counter for travellers who need assistance at the airport, including passengers travelling with babies, pregnant passengers, kids travelling alone, senior citizens, passengers with physical disabilities and those who are ill or injured.
The special assistance counter, located in the South Group Counter Area in Narita Airport Terminal 2, will begin operations in January 2020.
Earlier this year, Japan Airlines began testing an AI-powered voice recognition technology at its international check-in counters at Tokyo’s Narita and Haneda Airports.
Another Japanese carrier ANA has recently extended trial tests of its self-driving wheelchair at Narita Airport until November 28 this year.