To improve customer pre-flight boarding by increasing departure gate flexibility, saving time and money.
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-F1 handheld with integrated barcode reader using easyJet’s own application developed by its in-house team.
"The collaboration with Panasonic has been particularly great; from answering all our questions and queries to loaning devices for the trial and listening to feedback about specific use cases."
easyJet improves customer boarding times
easyJet has developed and introduced a new pre-flight boarding system at Geneva Airport in Switzerland that speeds departures, increases flexibility and cuts costs by using Panasonic rugged handheld devices. As an alternative to using airport fixed equipment to scan tickets and pre-board passengers ahead of flights, easyJet has developed its own application to run on Panasonic Toughpad FZ-F1 handheld devices. The new mobile solution ensures pre-flight boarding can take place quickly and efficiently, even when boarding gates are changed at short notice, minimising any potential delays. Due to the success of the new system, easyJet is now considering rolling out the solution to other airports in Europe.
Challenged to find a new solution
easyJet's IT team was originally challenged to find a new departure gate solution that provides a more flexible and cost efficient solution for pre-boarding passengers at Geneva Airport. “There was an opportunity to reduce costs but we also saw the opportunity to improve and increase the flexibility of our pre-flight boarding process,” said Graham Cottrell, Business Analyst in Operations Systems at easyJet. With a mobile solution, easyJet staff can much more easily handle short-notice changes to departures gates, for example, by setting up temporary pre-flight boarding areas – minimising any potential delays.
The application was developed by easyJet's own in-house team but they looked externally for a suitable mobile device to run the application. The team reviewed all the major providers but the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-F1 handheld stood out from the rest.
“The Panasonic device was initially interesting to us because it had an integrated barcode reader. We ran a trial with a number of devices and our agents were raving about the Panasonic device,” said Graham. “They found it much faster to use because of the angle of the barcode reader, the size and clarity of the screen and the design; it felt much easier to use when in the hand.”
“With the barcode reader, our agents can just hover the reader over the paper or mobile phone to scan a boarding pass without having to rotate their arm. It may sound trivial but when scanning hundreds of passes a day this can make a significant difference to the speed and comfort of our agents.”
Worked closely to optimise solution
After selecting the Panasonic device, the team worked closely with Panasonic to optimise the solution. “The collaboration between ourselves and Panasonic has been particularly great; from answering all our questions and queries to loaning devices for the trial and listening to feedback about specific use cases,” said Graham.
Alongside the 55 Panasonic handheld devices deployed at Geneva airport, the Panasonic Professional Services team, based in Cardiff, Wales, also designed and built a special stand for the devices to enable the agents to work in a hands-free mode when required.
Today, easyJet in Geneva uses the mobile solution to board 95% of all its flights, with as many as 80 flights a day operating at peak times. The solution is also being considered for other airports across Europe. Panasonic has a long history of working with easyJet to create modern mobile aviation solutions.
Small but tough
The Panasonic Toughpad FZ-F1 device brings together the best of handheld, smartphone and barcode reader functionality into a single rugged and hard-working tablet. Thanks to its fully-rugged design, with MIL-STD-810G certification, IP68 rating, 1.8-metre drop resistance and the ability to withstand as many as 1,000 tumbles from a height of 1 metre, the device delivers a long life-span and very low total cost of ownership. The user-replaceable and warm-swappable battery, combined with a range of accessories such as carry and mounting solutions, make it a truly mobile device. Along with the FZ-N1 Android™ version, the FZ-F1's state-of-the-art Qualcomm® quad-core processor, together with 2GB RAM, guarantees high performance.
This cutting-edge device has been designed for mobile workers in the postal and courier services, transportation and logistics, emergency and public safety, utilities, retail, manufacturing and defence sectors.
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