case study

Industry: Transportation

Underutilization of Airport Kiosks

FOCUS: Increase the use of kiosks and decrease the need for check-in agents


etStream airways installed new self-service check-in kiosks at a dozen airports with the goal of reducing reliance on check-in agents. After six months in operations the travelers were not using the kiosks and were still relying on the check-in agents. In addition to no realized savings, the travelers were getting
frustrated and regularly complained about the kiosks.


In the Define Phase the team gathered data to obtain the Voice of the Customer. In addition, the primary metric the team looked at was the percentage of travelers able to start and complete the check-in transaction without any assistance. Another measurement that was of concern was the length of time a traveler was at the kiosk. To scope the project only one airport was included in the project which limited the number of kiosks to eight with operations lasting 16 hours per day. Approximately 2,000 travelers were processed each day. It was determined that proper use of the kiosks could cut the staff by 25%. Projected over the twelve airports the potential was an annual savings of $2.8 million. In the Measure Phase a small survey was developed to help capture the usage data. From the collected data the team stratified the reasons for travelers not using the kiosks. The next stratification covered reasons for travelers needing assistance. In the Analyze Phase a fishbone diagram was used to identify seventeen potential root causes for the needed assistance. The team determined that there were four basic solutions that would assist in solving a majority of the problems. In the Improve Phase a four factor Design of Experiment (DOE) was accomplished. Two factors were psychological in nature …proximity of the check-in agent and whether or not a financial incentive was offered for using the kiosk. The other two factors were related to the functionality of the kiosk …whether or not the kiosk had voice guidance and the level of color contrast on the kiosk screen. Although the DOE had its logistical challenges valuable knowledge was gained. The DOE showed that the further an agent was from the kiosk queue the less likely the traveler was to seek assistance. Likewise, when voice guidance was available the success rate was significantly better. Light text on dark screen appeared to assist the kiosk user. There was an interactive effect between color scheme and voice guidance.


Please Call Air Academy Associates if you would like to learn more.

*For additional information see iSixSigma Magazine, November/October 2005, pgs 43-50,“Underutilization of Airport Kiosks”.