US Airways to replace kiosks in Charlotte

Aug. 8, 2007

Aug. 7--The screens will be a little bigger, and the color will be a little lighter.

Those are among the small changes that travelers who use the US Airways self-service kiosks at Charlotte's airport may notice the next time they check in for a flight.

As part of the merger with America West Airlines, US Airways this week is replacing all of its kiosks at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport.

The 30 kiosks -- 26 are being replaced, and four are new -- have 17-inch screens, compared with 15-inch screens now. They also will be a lighter blue to match recently painted jets and new uniforms that are planned for next year, US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr said via e-mail.

US Airways is the largest carrier at Charlotte/Douglas, with more than 500 daily flights to more than 120 locations.

Workers were scheduled to start removing old kiosks Monday night and finish Friday, Mohr said, with all work planned at night to avoid busy travel times.

"Our team will remove the old hardware, replace it with the new, boot up and test on the spot," she said.

The new kiosks were made by Kinetics, a subsidiary of NCR Corp., Mohr said. America West had used Kinetics kiosks since 2002, she said, and the company also makes the software that was installed in the Charlotte/Douglas kiosks earlier this year.

When US Airways merged two reservation systems into a single system in March, a software glitch led to check-in problems at the kiosks, long lines and delayed flights.

The hardware upgrades, however, have gone smoothly, Mohr said. The airline has replaced kiosks at 15 other airports, she said, and is replacing machines at four others this week.

While the basic functions remain the same -- customers touch the screen to check in and check bags for a flight -- the new kiosks can electronically read passports, which travelers swipe through a slot above the screen.

The average time it takes to check in using a kiosk is about 90 seconds, Mohr said. Passengers still can check in online and print a boarding pass at from 24 hours to 90 minutes before a flight.

Jefferson George: 704-358-5071

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