Alaska Air Cargo has quietly been testing app-based tablets at its Seattle cargo hub that allow customers to print cargo receipts, and head straight to the warehouse for cargo retrieval, without the need to wait in line.
Reminiscent of a self-service passenger kiosk that retrieves a boarding pass with an alpha-numeric record locator, Alaska’s cargo kiosks respond to air waybill numbers. After entering an air waybill number, the consignee is presented with details of the shipment, and can then sign and print a cargo retrieval receipt.
The idea for the new tech stemmed from conversations Alaska has had over the years with its customers. “The biggest thing we hear from our community and from drivers is complaints about wait times, particularly at very-crowded, multi-tenant facilities,” said Jason Berry, Managing Director, Cargo, Alaska Airlines. For prepaid domestic shipments without an international component, customers using the kiosks can bypass lines altogether.
After working through the kinks that are customary with new technologies, Alaska Air Cargo says its first two kiosks in Seattle are serving on average, 100 customers per day, and it is ready to install kiosks at other locations. “We’re trying to make shipping cargo a little more hassle free at all of our locations,” said Berry. Within the next two months Alaska Cargo plans to roll out kiosks to about seven or eight more locations, and hopes to have them installed at all 90 of its locations by the end of 2020.
For Alaska Airlines, mobile-based apps are the future not only for its passenger business, but also for cargo. “We believe that mobile technology has a lot of applications for cargo, and we want to make sure our ramp agents, and our customer service agents have that technology as well, this is the first step of many” said Berry.