United passengers travelling from London Heathrow can check in online and use touch-free kiosks to process bags and issue luggage tags before flying. Rose Dykins reports
Travellers flying from London Heathrow with United Airlines now benefit from contactless check-ins. As Globetrender predicted in its report on Travel in the Age of Covid-19, “Germaphobia” will be a defining trend in the viral age – as a consequence, automation and robotics will rapidly be replacing human contact and other physical touchpoints that could spread Covid-19.
The pandemic has sped up the introduction of touch-free travel, and several airlines and airports are making the transition – including Singapore Changi airport and all of Norway’s state-owned airports.
United’s new touchless technology means its passengers at Heathrow don’t have to touch buttons or screens at check-in kiosks. The move is part of the airline’s United CleanPlus initiative to prioritise air travellers’ healthy and safety during the pandemic. “Safety is of the utmost importance at United and we are proud to be the first airline to introduce touchless check-in technology at London Heathrow airport,” says United’s director of operations in the UK, Arvind Garcha. “We continue to deliver industry-leading cleanliness to ensure our customers and employees.” With United’s touchless technology, passengers check-in online or using United’s app. Then, when they arrive at the airport, United’s check-in kiosks will let them scan their mobile or printed boarding pass. Luggage tags linked to their booking are then printed immediately for the passenger to attach themselves.
United passengers can scan their own boarding pass at gate readers, and are each given an individually wrapped hand sanitiser wipe as they board the aircraft.The airline has also introduced electrostatic spraying on all planes before they depart from London Heathrow. This boosts the efficiency of the coverage of cleaning products across surfaces. Overhead bins, seats, tray tables, screens, window shared and air vents are all sprayed to sanitise the cabin.
Read more on how airlines and airports are making air travel safer during Covid-19
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