We recently flew Delta Airlines to Pisa, Italy. When we arrived at the airport in Pisa, instead of the traditional lengthy lines and traditional long row of counters, we saw something different. This is the new trend in airport designs–a collection of more than one dozen self check-in computers, where you typed in your reservation number or swiped a credit card and you printed out your own boarding pass.
Many airlines, such as Alaska Air, are banking on this dispersed way of dealing with checking in customers and in New Zealand, this is being done country wide by Air New Zealand. There are still agents available to help, but the point is, by removing that big back counter, they’ve empowered customers to take charge and get their own boarding passes, instead of waiting in a long line.
Air New Zealand even has a way of avoiding baggage checking too. They will issue regular customers RFID, or radio tags that can stay with the bags on the belts right onto the plane. This gives the airline staff the ability to match bags with passengers and direct the bags to the right channel.
You will still be able to check bags, but it will be quicker and thus more popular to put the tags on yourself.