Smart Airports still in the cloud

Your correspondent enjoys the joys of travel. Unfortunately, these joys are normally minimized at Helsinki Airport where endless construction reduces space for travelers; where harassed passengers are forced to walk through expensive “Duty Free” shelves that offer nothing more than any other department store in town; where we are forced to stand at gates because chairs have been removed; where we are subjected to outrageous prices for food and drink in untidy cafes because there is not enough staff to clean up… and you have to pay extra with Finnair to get to sit next to your partner on the plane, and they cannot even guarantee that if the plane is full!

The list is long and now gets a new addition…

About a year ago, the Transport Minister declared that Helsinki Airport and Finnair (both are owned by the government) are world leaders in digital services… This is just so far from the truth… so far that one of the CEO’s from a large Finnish IT company immediately wrote an open letter telling her that Finnair’s website is prehistoric. He pointed out that if you want to book a ticket you must enter your contact details separately each time, even though you are a registered customer! One year later, nothing has changed except the service is slow and often tosses you out.

The latest and newest proof of “not-world leadership in digital services” is the “Self Service Bag Drop” that we used today to drop off our suitcases. One case weighed 15 kilos and the other 21 kilos. The scanning machine actually recognized that we had 2 bags because we shared the same ticket code, however the machine refused to take the second bag becauase it was over-weight. It then demanded a ransom, even though we were together 5 kilos under the 40-kilo limit.

We then had to queue again at a real service counter where a courteous official just waved us through without any cost when we finally weighed in the second bag again.

Can the Minister explain why simple mathematics and a short line of software is beyond their skill set at the airport?

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