In Boston, 85% of United's customers never speak with an airport agent

Passengers may tag their own checked luggage in Boston. Photo: United Airlines. 

Passengers may tag their own checked luggage in Boston. Photo: United Airlines. 

Do you hate interacting with people?

United Airlines says you are not alone. As part of its new 10-gate concourse at Boston Logan International Airport, a project that cost about $170 million, United installed a series of technological improvements designed to keep passengers from requiring employee help.

United installed machines that allow passengers to tag their own luggage. United also is using self-boarding machines - they look a little like subway turn-styles - to improve efficiency.

"85% of our passengers in Boston get to the airport, check in and get to the airplane and they don't speak to a human being until they are greeted by the flight attendant on the airplane," United CFO John Rainey told investors this week.  

Self-boarding is available at United gates in Boston. Photo: United Airlines. 

Self-boarding is available at United gates in Boston. Photo: United Airlines. 

Yes, United probably saves money. But customers, especially younger ones familiar with technology, like the additions too. During normal operations, many customers see no reason to wait for harried customer service agents. 

I believe Rainey when he says customer service agents now have more time to help passengers who actually need the assistance. 

"This allows our employees to be freed up to actually provide customer service and handle one-off exceptions and provide the type of service that customers expect," he said. 


Interested in how other airlines make self-service a priority at airports? Read this post from Allegiant Air CEO Maury Gallagher.