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  1. Technology
February 23, 1988


By CBR Staff Writer

If you flit frequently between Geneva and Paris, new technology now enables you to spend less time checking in, and more time browsing in the Duty Free shop. Swissair and Air France have introduced an experimental computerised ticket system developed by Paris-based Electronique Marcel Dassault SA which allows passengers travelling on their Paris-Geneva routes to finalise their own flight details, and in some cases, completely by-pass the check-in desk. Passengers booking through sales offices now receive an ATB readable ticket, which has a magnetic strip containing flight, itinerary, and passenger information attached to the back. Upon arrival at the airport, passengers carrying one item of luggage simply insert the ticket into a self-service machine, pick the language they wish to use for conveying instructions, and confirm their flight number. They can then choose their seat number, and are issued with a wallet containg a printed baggage label and a boarding card. For those who wish to purchase tickets on the spot, a credit card can be inserted in place of the ticket, and a similar procedure followed. Passengers with more than one item of baggage can use the machine to dispense tickets which can then be presented at the check-in desk. When the ticket is passed through a reader airline staff gain rapid access to the passenger information stored on the strip, and can process flight details at speed with the aid of their own computers. Tickets of this kind currently represent around 20% of Swissair sales; eventually the company plans to expand the ATB system throughout its entire international network, and incorporate additional carrier routes. British Airways also has plans to introduce a similar system at sales offices and Heathrow’s Terminal 4; it is unwilling, however, to discuss the scheme while it is still in its experimental stages.

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