El Al activates self-check-in at Ben Gurion Airport in bid to slash waiting time

‘The process is quick and simple,’ traveler says as national carrier joins other airlines in providing kiosks for the process

Travelers at the departure hall of Ben Gurion International Airport, April 4, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
Travelers at the departure hall of Ben Gurion International Airport, April 4, 2023. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

El Al, Israel’s national airline, on Tuesday activated the option of self-check-in in kiosks at Ben Gurion Airport, joining other airlines that enabled the possibility in Israel some two months ago.

The move is part of a digital transformation being advanced by the perennially congested airport to significantly reduce wait times.

“The process is quick and simple,” an unnamed traveler told Channel 12 of the process. “We’ve seen this kind of thing abroad and were surprised to discover it exists here too.”

In a statement last summer, the Israel Airports Authority said a main objective of the initiative “is improving services for passengers in the immediate future and, in the long term, becoming a digital airport and one of the most advanced of its kind in the world.”

The IAA estimated that the kiosk check-in — which completely bypasses the lines, enabling passengers to weigh and tag their baggage — would shorten waiting times by at least half an hour. However, the kiosks do not do away with the initial security check and passengers are still asked who packed their bags and other questions.

“People flying abroad will only go through a security check after completing the check-in process for their flight — either by checking in online from home or by using one of the independent kiosks that will be installed at the airport’s departures hall,” the IAA’s statement read.

Passengers line up for pre-flight check-in at Ben Gurion Airport on September 25, 2020 (Menahem Kahana / AFP)

“Most of the process required for leaving the country will be done online and through digital means, maximizing comfort and accessibility for the passengers,” it added.

Over a decade ago, in 2011, Israel identified an urgent need for another international airport that would relieve some of the congestion at Ben Gurion Airport but has struggled to implement the decision.

According to Israel’s Civil Aviation Authority, Ben Gurion Airport will reach its maximum capacity of 40 million passengers and 250,000 flights annually by 2029.

Most Popular
read more: