Alaska Airlines CEO hints at fast check-in guarantee, location-based app assistance

Alaska Airlines CEO hints at fast check-in guarantee, location-based app assistance


Brad Tilden, CEO of Alaska Air Group, said Thursday that the company is creating… more

Your bags will be delivered to baggage claim within 20 minutes of your flight's arrival. That's been Alaska Airlines' guarantee for years. Now, though, that same speedy service may be coming to the airline's check-in service. And the company's app may even soon be able to tell you if you're headed to the wrong gate after you check in.

Alaska Air Group (NYSE: ALK) has long been at the forefront of airline technology. The company was the first to introduce online ticketing in the 1990s.

Now the company wants to use technology to make the sometimes arduous process of flying much simpler, CEO Brad Tilden said in a wide-ranging discussion Thursday at a Puget Sound Business Journal Live event.

Alaska offers a guarantee that passenger’s checked bags will arrive at baggage claim within 20 minutes of the plane reaching the gate. If the bags hit the carousel outside that time limit, customers get $25 or 2,500 frequent flyer miles to use on future flights.

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Alaska is also working on streamlining the look and feel of its mobile apps, which passengers can use to check in to flights and get digital boarding passes. Streamlining that process could help the company cut down on airport wait times.

The company is especially interested in the location services that can now be embedded into mobile apps, Tilden said. The Alaska app can track the user’s location and give helpful tips. For example, the app would be able to alert you if you were at the wrong gate or baggage claim carousel.

“I think a lot of the innovation left for us to do is to take the technology and make it easy and intuitive,” Tilden said. “It’s little things like the messaging needs to match your location, not hassle you with (irrelevant) messages.”

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