I received an automated offer to check in my flight to Hanoi a week ahead of departure. It was my first experience and I toyed with using the standard counter check-in but decided that there is always a first time and there is no loss. In fact the carrot to me is I need not pay a RM10 check-in fee over the counter. That help me decide and I cautiously went through the 5 steps process, one of which allow me a choice seats. Mmmm, if I had opted for this when I bought my tickets online a few months ago I would have to pay a fee. I'm glad I did not and last night was offered seats in row 15 which is in the mid section of the plane. So I took them and proceeded to print the boarding passes. I even process my boarding passes for our return flight. Very convenient.
Web check-in saves time as well as pre-secure the seats. My next flight to Singapore also on Air Asia will also be treated likewise. I remember those days when air tickets were printed in multiple copies that are torn off at each departure airport and boarding passes must be personally claimed at the airports with presentation of passports. Now efficient client management software made these tasks easier and faster. One day I believe check in luggages can be consigned days ahead through collection centers and air travelers just need to disembark at the departure hall, walk right through immigration to the gate. Maybe the immigration can be pre-cleared too to simplify the process. Just as luggages can be pre-checked in, so returning luggages may be automatically transported to the addresses given on the labels by agents instead of awaited to be claimed from the carousels.
Air travel is expected to undergo further revolutionary changes. Next thing, buy your visa as needed and passports will be standardized into credit card type that are swiped upon departure and arrival as well as auto renewed to avoid the hassle of queueing up at the immigration counters. Now, really everyone can fly. Who says we need high tech airports with duty-free shops and food stalls when we just need stables of departures lounges we drive up to fly? With air travel very competitive many cost cutting exercises should be considered.