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What is an Airport Kiosk?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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An airport kiosk is a standalone desk or an interactive computer terminal that provides information, goods, or services. In many airports, individuals can purchase tickets, check baggage, and monitor the status of arriving and departing flights at a specific airline's computerized kiosks. Several airlines rely on kiosks to ease congestion and prevent long lines at check-in counters. An airport kiosk may also be a booth where people can purchase food, magazines, or souvenirs from a salesperson before or after a flight.

Computerized, self-service kiosks are found near the check-in counters for many large airlines. At these terminals, individuals can review prices and flight times, and either purchase or confirm reservations. Many kiosks allow customers to print boarding passes and baggage check receipts. An airport kiosk might feature a mouse and keyboard setup similar to a desktop computer, or utilize an interactive touchscreen so that customers can make their choices by pressing selections on the screen. Many terminals cater to international customers by offering information in a number of different languages.

A self-service kiosk is able to confirm a traveler's identity by prompting him or her to input a confirmation number and insert the credit card used to purchase tickets. The kiosk has access to an airline's information database, and is able to immediately access profiles and payment information. If the terminal is unable to confirm a purchase or a customer does not have his or her credit card handy, the screen usually directs the traveler to a manned ticked counter so that he or she can speak with a customer service agent.

An interactive airport kiosk offers many advantages to both customers and airline employees. Computerized terminals allow customers to avoid long lines at ticket counters and check in for their flights at their own convenience. Customer service agents are relieved of the burden of manually entering information and checking in large numbers of passengers before flights. Instead, they are able to help people who have difficulties with kiosks and those who need to discuss special accommodations.

Many retail outlets set up booths known as kiosks to provide goods and services to customers. A retail airport kiosk might sell souvenirs, snacks, newspapers, magazines, and other items. An employee of a retail company or an airline usually works at a kiosk to answer questions and make sales. An automated teller machine is a fixture of many kiosks, allowing people to withdraw money or check the balance of their bank accounts immediately.

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Discussion Comments
By anon304101 — On Nov 18, 2012

Thanks, this info has been useful for my IT essay! And yes, I think a lot of people just worry it might go wrong and they'll end up in Australia by accident or something.

By lonelygod — On May 26, 2011

A lot of airport kiosks that are used for purchases and checking in now have touch screen technology and do not have keyboards and mice.

I find that the touch screens are easier to use and make navigating through services much easier.

In the case of the check in kiosks, having the touch feature is really handy when navigating the image of the plane and looking for the best seat.

Does anyone prefer the old mouse and keyboard set up?

I can imagine it would be best for those who have trouble with getting touch pads to respond to their movements. I have seen people struggling with the touch pads.

By wander — On May 24, 2011

I really don't understand why more people don't use the airport kiosks to check in to their flights. I always see hundreds of people in line at check in counters while the kiosks stand empty. It really is strange.

I have noticed this a lot more in smaller airports and find it odd that people are willing to wait hours to talk with someone when a kiosk will get you to security in minutes.

Does anyone know why people might be afraid of using the new kiosks? Do you think it has something to do with being worried about messing up their check in data or getting on the wrong flight?

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