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The Zen of Airport Kiosks (05 Jan 2005)
The Star Wars actress and novelist Carrie Fisher once observed that “instant gratification takes too long.” For business travelers trapped in airport queues, Fisher’s aphorism is no joke. What makes airport ticketing kiosks such godsends is that they are engineered around the two strongest desires of business travelers arriving at the airport: to be mindless and to feel no pain.

Mindlessness is a mantra for every Executive Platinum flier. You don’t want to actually think. You just want to do it and be done with it. Immediately. Continental Airlines’ mean time for automated check-in is 66 seconds. You only have carry-on bags? Barely 30 seconds.

As a promoter of mindlessness, the ticketing kiosk’s superi­ority to the ATM is obvious. With an ATM, you think about how much money you need and how much you actually have. In contrast, an ATK (airline ticketing kiosk) presents you with choices you either have already made (your itinerary) or don’t need to think about (are you carrying any firearms onto your flight?).
Article URL: http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/01/issue/schrage0105.asp

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