SEATTLE , Oct. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alaska Airlines and Horizon Airtoday opened the first phase of their
"The Airport of the Future will transform the way customers check in forflights at our main hub in Seattle ," said Steve Jarvis , Alaska's vicepresident of sales, marketing and customer experience. "The new design makescheck-in faster and easier, and demonstrates how significantly innovation canimprove the customer experience."
The first of the project's three islands opened this morning to serveAlaska customers, with the second and third islands slated to open bymid-2008. The new facility will serve Horizon customers beginning in February2008 .
"We're thrilled to see the first phase open today and look forward tosharing this new check-in experience with Horizon customers in the monthsahead," said Andy Schneider , Horizon's senior vice president of customerservices. "By ultimately combining Alaska and Horizon's check-in resourcesinto a shared customer-friendly facility, we'll not only improve service,we'll do so more efficiently."
The first island has 11 check-in kiosks and 16 bag-check stations. Whencompleted, the facility's three islands will offer 50 check-in kiosks and 56bag-check points. Alaska and Horizon will continue to operate a portion oftheir traditional ticket counters during the ongoing construction.
The new design allows customers who haven't already checked in online toprint their boarding passes at the check-in kiosks. Customers with onlycarry-on baggage then proceed directly to the security checkpoint. Passengerswith checked luggage proceed to one of the bag-check points, where customerservice employees scan customers' boarding passes and affix bag tags. A newlydesigned conveyor-belt system at each bag-check point weighs and automaticallymoves the baggage onto the main luggage conveyor belt on its way to theaircraft.
When the project is complete, the overall size of Alaska and Horizon'scheck-in area at Sea-Tac will remain the same. However, through the removal ofticket counters and the relocation of office space upstairs to the mezzaninelevel, customer-service space will increase from about 9,000 square feet tonearly 14,000 square feet.
Alaska and Horizon customers represent nearly half of the passengertraffic at Sea-Tac. More than 7 million customers depart Sea-Tac on theairlines' flights annually, with about three-quarters flying on Alaska andone-quarter flying on Horizon.
Alaska Airlines debuted the Airport of the Future design in 2004 at TedStevens International Airport in Anchorage , Alaska, where the project reducedcongestion in the check-in area and cut customer wait times in half. Theairline has implemented similar, though smaller-scale, designs in Los Angeles ; Boise , Idaho; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico ; and several locations in Alaska.
Alaska and Horizon have long pioneered technology to improve the customerexperience. The airlines were the first in North America to sell ticketsonline in 1995 and, four years later, were the first carriers worldwide tooffer Internet check-in and boarding passes. Today, two-thirds of theairlines' customers check in online or at one of 444 kiosks at 80 airports.
Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air serve 92 cities through an expansivenetwork in Alaska, the Lower 48, Hawaii, Canada and Mexico . This year AlaskaAirlines celebrates its 75th anniversary, marking the airline's growth from asingle-aircraft operation in 1932 to one of the largest U.S. carriers. Forreservations, visit alaskaair.com. For more news and information, visit theAlaska Airlines/Horizon Air Newsroom at alaskaair.com/newsroom.
SOURCE Alaska Airlines