12 August 2015

Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir introduce FAST check-in trial

Editor's note: I've tried a variant of FAST check-in in Europe this year, with another airline. The passenger does more work, though it is actually quite easy to go through the different steps in this process once someone has shown you how to do it. While counters manned by people are still going to be easier for passengers, there is less of a queue and it saves money for the airlines and the airport. It is likely that this type of self-service check-in will become more common in future, so passengers who have the opportunity should at least try it once in order to familiarise themselves with the process.

Passengers travelling on Singapore Airlines and SilkAir flights and departing from Changi Airport can now take advantage of a Fast and Seamless Travel (FAST) check-in trial in Terminal 2.

The trial, a collaboration between Changi Airport Group (CAG), Singapore Airlines and its regional wing, SilkAir, will build up to a full suite of FAST options in 2016, giving passengers of both airlines more choices for check-in as well as potentially faster processing through automated check-in kiosks and bag drops. Another 24 kiosks will be introduced in Terminal 3 subsequently.

For passengers with baggage to check in, FAST check-in is a two-step process. They first obtain their boarding pass and bag tags at the 24 kiosks. Once they have tagged their own bags, passengers drop them off at the bag drop counters. There are instructional videos, signs and staff on ground to guide passengers on this process.

Passengers with carry-on bags can print their boarding passes at the kiosks and proceed directly to Departure Immigration. Alternatively, passengers who have done online or mobile check-in can skip the counters and proceed to Departure Immigration with their home-printed or mobile phone boarding passes (offered on selected itineraries).

Based on past trials conducted by CAG, 97% of passengers polled indicated that they were satisfied with the FAST check-in experience and would consider using it again. The entire FAST check-in sequence – including printing of boarding pass and bag tags, together with tagging and baggage drop off – can be done in a matter of minutes. The time taken is expected to reduce as travellers gain familiarity with this mode of processing, given the growing use of automated check-in options in airports around the world.

In addition to providing passengers with a faster and more flexible check-in experience, automation will also help raise efficiency and productivity of check-in operations, thereby providing cost savings for airlines.

Jayson Goh, CAG’s Senior Vice President for Airport Operations Management, said: “The adoption of FAST initiatives is in line with a wider global push towards self-service options at airports to improve productivity and efficiency, while at the same time providing passengers with greater flexibility and convenience. CAG is pleased to partner Singapore Airlines and SilkAir on the FAST journey and will work closely with the airlines to continuously refine the process where necessary, so as to bring about a greater travel experience for our passengers.”

“We welcome the new FAST initiatives, which will streamline the check-in process for our customers. This reflects our ongoing efforts to offer customers more options and improve their travel experience with us,” said Tan Pee Teck, Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Product & Services.