Alaska Airlines is replacing check-in desks with iPad Pros

Alaska Airlines Ipad Pro Check In
Alaska Airlines Ipad Pro Check In (Image credit: Alaska Airlines)

What you need to know

  • Alaska Airlines is testing using iPad Pro tablets in lieu of the traditional check-in desk.
  • iPad Pros are being tested at a San Jose airport before rolling out elsewhere.

Alaska Airlines is testing switching out the traditional check-in desk and replacing it with a bank of iPad Pro tablets. The test is underway in San Jose right now.

The iPad Pro check-in tests are underway at the San Jose Norman Y. Mineta International Airport, according to Fast Company, with the decision to use iPad Pro tablets being a notable one — especially for Apple.

Along with being a big deal for the airline, the use of iPad Pros at San Jose is a meaningful moment for Apple. Since its 2010 launch, the iPad has made high-profile inroads in homes, offices, and schools. With enterprise implementations such as Alaska's, the tablet is tackling new frontiers where the competition might consist of specialized, proprietary hardware and software rather than a Microsoft Surface or Samsung Galaxy Tab. And it needs to excel in scenarios that demand rock-solid reliability and the ability to manage whole fleets of devices in an efficient, centralized way.

The new iPad Pro check-in system isn't the only change being trialed in San Jose, either. self-server drop-off points are also being tested, as is a facial recognition system that is designed to do away with the need for passports at the gate. It's all very modern and, maybe, futuristic. So futuristic that it's expected that it will be as many as five years before the introduction of iPad Pro-based check-in systems is complete. Assuming no problems are discovered during the new trial, that is.

You can read more about what Alaska Airlines is doing in the full Fast Company report now.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.