Fast Line at JFK

Remember when you could cut the lines at the airport by using those new-fangled kiosks all the non-techies were afraid of? Then when you could check in at home and print your own boarding pass (and incidentally edit its PDF source code to bypass what little security the ID checks provided)?

I think those days are over. (Except for editing the boarding pass source code. That still works.) This morning at JFK the smart move would have been to wait till you got to the airport to check in. The line for offline checkin was nonexistent. The line for online baggage check was wrapped around three times and growing fast, and this was at 5:15 in the morning. Heck, you probably could have showed up at the airport with no reservation and oversized luggage, bought a one-way ticket using cash, and still gotten through the line faster.

The general public has finally discovered the wonders of online check-in, and in a completely predictable tragedy of the commons, it’s now just as slow as regular check-in used to be, except we’re doing more of the work. It’s like thirty years ago when everyone started using self-serve to save money, and soon self-serve prices had risen to where full-service used to be.

One Response to “Fast Line at JFK”

  1. John Cowan Says:

    Which is why New Jersey and Oregon have maintained bans on self-service, to a chorus of gnashed teeth from libertarians everywhere.

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