South African Airways (SAA) has introduced a self- check-in service at O.R. Tambo International Airport (ORTIA) for customers travelling on the airline’s domestic routes.

 It forms part of a joint project with Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). 

The Common Use Self Service (CUSS) check-in facility will assist in shortening queuing time for those travelling with hand luggage only and help speed up the check-in process.

“The facility will have huge benefits for our customers in terms of convenience and flexibility. They will now have total control over their travel,” says Phillip Bekker, SAA General Manager Global Passenger Services.

There are currently ten kiosks available in the domestic departures terminal at ORTIA for customers to utilise.

SAA will implement the self-service facility at Cape Town, Durban and Port Elizabeth International Airports’ over the next few weeks.

CUSS, to be used by the world’s leading airlines, is an International Air Transport Association (IATA) recommended practise and part of their “Simplifying the Business” initiative to make air travel more easy.

IATA has set various initiatives with the aim of simplifying the travel experience. Included in these are e-ticketing, bar coded boarding passes, e-freight, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and CUSS. The aim of these initiatives is to encourage self service, in turn, improving airline efficiency and customer convenience.

SAA adds CUSS as an addition to other initiatives the airlines implemented for an easier travel experience.

More than 3 million customers have already experienced the benefits and convenience of e-ticketing since launched in September 2003.

SAA plans to introduce barcoded boarding passes and e-freight in the coming months.

CUSS works on an easy to operate touch screen application. The following steps need to be followed when using self check-in:

Step 1: Customer identifies their method of check-in: reference number, e-ticket, Voyager membership number (if present in booking) or passport number (if present in booking)

Step 2: Customer enters their chosen method of reservation identification. For this, customers need have their booking itinerary readily available. E.g. Reservation no. (six alphanumeric digits printed on itinerary receipt or six alphanumeric digit vendor registration no issued by a travel agent), Voyager membership no., e-ticket (13 digit number in the case of SAA tickets, starts with an 083) or passport (if present in booking)

Step 3: If multiple passengers are booked, select passengers for check-in.  An option to check-in multiple passengers on alternate bookings may be done at the same time if travelling in a group (maximum 9 people)

Step 4: Confirm flight details on screen. At this point, the passenger may also check-in for more than one flight booked for that day

Step 5: Passengers select their preferred seat on the aircraft. The system initially assigns a seat automatically, if not pre-assigned a seat during booking. However the passenger may decide to choose their own seat during self-check-in

Step 5: Confirm flight details and Boarding Pass will be printed

If a credit card is used to make a flight booking, it must be inserted in the credit card slot when asked for at the kiosk for verification unless the ticket was sponsored.

The entire self-check-in procedure will take a passenger previously exposed to the system, approximately 15-20 seconds to complete.

While passengers are not required to produce any form of identification during self-check-in, they may be asked to do so at the boarding gates. It is an illegal practise to check-in under someone else’s name or to allow another person to travel on your booking.

Passengers must ensure their boarding passes have an e-ticket number (e.g. 0831234567891) printed on the boarding pass or a paper ticket inserted in the back pocket.

If neither of these are adhered to, the passenger will be sent back to the check-in counters and not allowed to board the aircraft.

International travellers will be able to make use of this new innovation at a later stage.

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