Alaska Air Plans Faster Seattle Check-In

SEATTLE (AFX) - Alaska Air Group Inc., the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, announced plans Wednesday for an $18 million overhaul of its customer check-in process at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Dubbed the 'Airport of the Future,' the plan calls for the replacement of ticket counters with check-in kiosks and bag-check stations. Alaska Air said it implemented a similar design at the Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Alaska, in 2004, where it cut customer wait times in half.

Alaska and Horizon will retain the same check-in area at Sea-Tac, the company said, but by eliminating ticket counter and moving office space to a different location, customer-service space will increase from about 9,000 to nearly 14,000 square feet.

Under the plan, customers will check in and receive their boarding passes at one of 50 kiosks called 'instant travel machines,' the company said. Customers with luggage to check will do so at one of 54 bag-check points at three islands.

Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air serve approximately 26,000 passengers a day at Sea-Tac, nearly half the airport's passenger traffic, the company said.

Shares of Alaska Airlines rose 61 cents to $42.10 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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