First phase of check-in kiosks begins at airport

LAS VEGAS -- By the end of the summer, clients flying to and from McCarran Airport here likely will find that the check-in process has been facilitated by what has been billed as the country's first common-use, self-service kiosk system.

SpeedCheck, as the system is known, involves machines "where various airlines' applications can ride on the same kiosk," said an airport spokeswoman, who indicated that the airport is working with IATA on the project.

"Travelers will see a selection screen where they can pick [a carrier such as] Delta, Southwest, Northwest. When they push [a carrier's] button they will actually launch [that carrier's] application."

So far, the airport has had five "definite commitments" from interested carriers, including Southwest, Northwest, Delta, United and AirTran, the spokeswoman said.

McCarran, which will own and maintain the SpeedCheck kiosks, has spent $2 million for the first phase of the project, which entails the installment of 38 kiosks in key areas of the airport.

"At this point, we've just started the installation of the kiosks in the [main] terminal," the spokeswoman said. "We want to put them in the path of travelers to catch people who have carry-on only -- before they get into a line with others who are checking luggage," she said.

"We will have a bank of [machines] just as people walk in from the public parking garage and near the security checkpoints for the C and D concourses, where there are a lot of long-haul carriers as well as Southwest."

Kiosks also will be placed near the security checkpoints for the A and B concourses as well as in the center of the ticketing area, the spokeswoman noted.

By the end of the summer, she added, four of the self-service kiosks will be located in the Las Vegas Convention Center.

"We think that will be really popular," she said. "There are a lot of people who have so much convention display stuff."

Airline passengers want to be able to ship those items and then just check themselves in, get a boarding pass and go, she added.

"About 30% of our passengers have carry-on luggage," the spokeswoman said. We don't think that's good customer service to have them standing in the same lines where other passengers are checking luggage."

Indeed, at this point, because of security concerns, only passengers with carry-on luggage will be able to use the kiosks to check themselves in and print out a boarding pass, she said.

However, phase two of the project, which is scheduled to be implemented in January or February, will feature the installation of kiosks at the various airlines' ticket counters, replacing the carriers' self-service kiosks, if they have them.

"There you still can check yourself in and then check your luggage at the ticket counter," the spokeswoman said. All of the kiosks will be controlled by a master server, she said.

In the case of the SpeedCheck kiosks located at the airlines' ticket counters, they will be programmed to show information only about that particular carrier.

Kiosks also will be located in the international terminal by the end of the year, the spokeswoman said. Other potential locations include local resorts and the future McCarran Consolidated Rental Car Facility.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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