The airline’s check-in area, known as zone A, allows customers to check themselves in on the internet, at home or by using a kiosk on-site. This gives the customer more control of the process. As part of this process Virgin awarded Avery Weigh-Tronix a contract to design, engineer and then install pre check-in baggage weighers. Each system is a custom-designed stand containing a floor-standing baggage weigher, similar to those used at check-in desks, linked to an easily readable LCD indicator.
Using the system, customers can see whether or not their bags are overweight and if necessary redistribute their belongings before dropping off their bags. Virgin had found that the problem of overweight bags can take additional time since a member of staff has to talk through different options with the customer.
Since installation, the average time that a customer spends at the check-in desk has reduced from four minutes to two and a half minutes. This has led to significantly shorter queues and better customer satisfaction.
Surveys conducted by the airline show that 85 percent of economy and premium economy passengers rated customer service in the new check in area as excellent or good. The airline also reached its target of 80 percent of economy passengers checking in using a kiosk or via the internet well ahead of its target date.
Says Sarah Kitson, head of customer services at Heathrow: “Our whole investment in terminal 3 and zone A has proved to be money well spent. Indeed, we have seen an increase in the number of our long haul passengers.
“We have kept the systems in the check-in area as simple as possible and have found that providing a pre-check in baggage weigher has empowered customers. It means that they are more informed before arriving at the desk to drop off their bags. Our surveys have demonstrated that this has helped to significantly improve our customer satisfaction ratings.”
In addition to designing and then installing the system, Avery Weigh-Tronix won the ongoing service and maintenance contract for the twenty-six systems. This covers pre-planned and emergency maintenance and repair, as well as calibration.