British Airways starts automatic check-in service. But is this new?

British Airways starts automatic check-in service. But is this new?

The trial run is starting in France, but some fliers say they've already been there, done that
BA check in automatic
Stop waiting. Automatic check-in is now being trialed by British Airways.

Waiting in line at the airport to check-in is a nuisance for everyone, and British Airways (BA) is claiming that by the end of next year, this will come to an end.

According to various media outlets, the airline is trialing a new service that will automatically check in passengers ahead of their flight -- part of a £5 billion (US$8.12 billion) investment program that BA is rolling out to improve passenger experience. 

Selected BA passengers departing from French airports from this month will be checked in 24 hours prior to their flight, assigned a seat and allocated electronic boarding passes. All without having to wait.

“Customers have so much to think about prior to a trip, be that finishing up in the office or getting the kids’ suitcases packed," said Frank van der Post, the airline's managing director of brands and customer experience. 

"We’re aiming to give them one less thing to think about by giving them the choice to be checked in automatically and sent their boarding pass electronically. Then they just need to drop off any bags and make their way to the plane."

It all seems like a breakthrough indeed. But, wait, is this new? 

Curiously enough, this is not the first time an airline has introduced an automatic check-in.

Air France provides a similar service. The airline's website also gives a step-by-step guide. The service is currently available on flights in metropolitan France, in Europe or between Europe and North Africa. 

When asked about further details on the service, including the difference between fellow airlines' services and future plans, British Airways commented that the "service is just a trial" and that it "will be releasing further information should it be adopted across the airline."

If initial trials are successful, the service will be extended to "a larger group of travelers in the spring."

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