Travelers in line at BWI Airport Photo by Benet Wilson
What would it be like if you went to the airport for a flight at the absolute peak time of the day -- and there were no lines? The July 31 issue (subscribers only) of Airportsincludes my interview with Alex Backer, CEO of Los Angeles-based Qless, who outlined how the technology works.
The company has developed software that allows airports to take a group of people standing in line and convert it into a virtual line, CEO Alex Backer said. "Our program is all about shifting demand and time. There's no reason for people to have to stand in line," he said.
Passengers with cell phones can call the Qless phone number, Backer said. "That will reserve them a spot in line, and we'll call them back when their turn in line is ready," he said. "The person controlling the security checkpoint can press a button on a kiosk or computer to call the next person. The line is replenished, but it never really grows."
Photo courtesy of Qless
The beauty of Qless is that it doesn't require airports to buy extra hardware or software, Backer said. "All you need is a way to communicate by cell phone or the Internet. The line checker needs a way to call Qless to authorize line movement," he said. "Computer touch screens connected to the Internet are used to call people. You can also tell how long a passenger has been in line and the number of times they've called for updates. You can even enter custom notes." Passengers can be notified by voice, text message or instant messaging, he added.
Backer has no takers so far, but has been talking to airports about Qless. He says he may also attend this year's Airports Council International-North American annual show in Kansas City. The lines at my hometown airport, BWI, are usually pretty reasonable. But wouldn't it be nice to have a system like this to take away one of the most stressful parts of traveling these days? Tell me what you think!