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Jfk’s New Automated Passport Machines

By Author: Steve Robinson
Total Articles: 468

JFK International Airport has long been recognized as an airport where travelers can find cheap travel deals and cheap fares, including cheap airplane tickets, discount travel deals, and cheap vacation packages. Unfortunately it has also been known as an entry point into the United States that sometimes has excessively long custom lines.

JFK installed automated passport machines in October to reduce the wait times of U.S. passengers from international flights.

Similar self service machines have previously been installed at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport Terminal 5 and at the Vancouver and Montreal airports. These machines have proven to considerably speed the arrival of passengers. Before the installation of these machines arriving international passengers had to stand in line for as many as five hours or be held back on a plane.

JFK is the country’s busiest entry point for international travelers. Delta, the biggest airline of over 30 operating out of the airport, has installed 40 automated passport kiosks in Terminal 4. Presently only U.S. citizens will be able to use these machines, but plans call for Canadian citizens to start using them in the near future.

Delta has expressed the desire to see the Custom and Border Protection agency increase staffing and improve scheduling to better deal with peak passenger arrival times. The airline is realistic though and has no idea how long it will take to implement such actions.

Delta has indicated that the cost of each individual kiosk is somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Paying for these kiosks now, vs. waiting for the government to do so some time in the distant future, was viewed as necessary because Delta was determined to be proactive and improve customer experiences at JFK.

Delta believes that an international flight that otherwise went great can be ruined by passengers having to stand in line for hours after departing planes.

The benefits of the automated passport machines have been made apparent at O’Hare Airport Terminal 5 where since July 1st daily passenger volume has been up by 21 percent, to over 15,000, while wait times during peak arrival periods have been cut by 33 percent.

There has been a 60 percent reduction in the number of passengers waiting over 60 minutes per day; with the number of passengers waiting over two hours now rare. Far fewer passengers now miss their connecting flights.

Until recently only U.S. citizens were using the kiosks at O’Hare. In October the program was expanded to include Canadian citizens.

These automated passport control machines will soon be installed at several other U.S. Airports. Machines deployed at Orlando International airport are not yet in use, waiting for the Customer and Border Protect to certify the system, which it cannot do until it is returned from furlough.

Other airports that should have automated passport machines installed by the end of the year include:

• Huston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport - 20 kiosks

• Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport - 30 kiosks

• Miami International Airport - 36 kiosks

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