Logan International Airport in Boston today introduced “Carla”, a new airport avatar that speaks in English and Spanish. Carla is a video projection of a woman dressed as a Massport customer service representative and is expected to assist nearly 6,000 travelers a day between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. Among her duties, Carla instructs passengers to have their IDs and boarding passes available for inspection, and reminds passengers to remove their shoes, outer garments, and laptops, liquids and medicines from carry-ons.
Meanwhile, Washington Dulles Airport has also employed the use of an avatar – except her name is “Paige”. She performs similar duties as Carla, but her job apparently isn’t guaranteed. (Not even an avatar has job security.) Paige is on a three-month trial at Dulles while airport administrators gauge her usefulness. If she’s a success, the airport will start installing others.
Here’s some more travel news you can use:
- Alaska Airlines quietly adjusted their checked baggage fee policy for first class travelers. Beginning July 10, some passengers who upgraded to first class will be charged $20 fee for their first and second checked bag – something they previously got for free. This is the first time a U.S. airline has levied a checked bag fee to a passenger riding in the front cabin, upgrade or otherwise.
- The Wall Street Journal reported three bold predictions that will likely impact your future stay at a hotel: (1) Basic internet access will be free within all U.S. hotels. (2) Hotels will become more energy-efficient, and (3) hotel lobbies and restaurants will evolve further into more social venues in which guests interact.
- Last week, J. D. Power and Associates released its annual North American airline satisfaction report, which showed that overall passenger satisfaction with airlines declined this year after two years of small improvements. The study measured customer evaluations of fares and fees, in-flight services, boarding and baggage, flight crew, check-in and reservations, and the airplane cabin and seating. Interestingly, the survey found that passengers favored two airlines that do not charge for checked bags, JetBlue Airways and Southwest Airlines. Southwest allows two free checked bags; JetBlue allows one.