It was an exciting day on Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at Terminal Six of Los Angeles International Airport because Alaska Airlines unveiled their new terminal. They renovated the terminal to coordinate with their move from the 1970s-style Terminal 3 to the shiny, modern, brand new environment of Terminal 6. The event brought out Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council member Bill Rosendahl, Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsay with select members of the LAWA Board and Bill Ayers, its Chairman and the recently-retired CEO of Alaska Airlines.
It was a festive mood as we witnessed the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new areas. The improvements transformed the traditional customer check-in process with a patented design dubbed the “Airport of the Future.” Traditional ticket counters have been replaced with kiosk-style check-in and bag-check stations, reducing average check-in wait times from 20 minutes to an average of less than four minutes. The remodeled terminal features a state-of-the art Board Room lounge and modernized gate areas featuring electrical outlets at half of the seats.
The 13-month LAX construction project was a collaborative effort among the airline, the LAWA, and the Transportation Security Administration. After breaking ground in February 2011, the $238-million project was completed on-time and $33 million under the original $271-million budget.
“Alaska’s Terminal 6 is an example of what can be achieved when government and private business partner (work together). The renovation, delivered on time and under budget, is part of L.A.’s $4.1-billion investment in modernizing LAX,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “In addition to dramatically improving the travel experiences of both domestic and international passengers, the Alaska Terminal 6 project also supported over 1,000 jobs in our region.”
City Council member Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes LAX and is also Vice-Chair of the City Council Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee, said, “It’s fitting that Alaska Airlines has brought its innovative new designs to Los Angeles, home of the original ‘Airport of the Future.’ Score another round to stunning progress, cooperation, and job growth in our ongoing efforts to modernize LAX, the largest origin-and-destination airport in the world.”
“We want Alaska to be the easiest airline to fly on, and our new terminal in Los Angeles epitomizes our mission to make travel hassle-free and seamless for our customers,” said Bill Ayer, Alaska Airlines’ chairman and CEO. “Our new terminal provides more room for passengers to roam, swifter passage to the security checkpoint, more convenient connections to international flights, and access to electrical outlets throughout our gates. These state-of-the art amenities remove some of the traditional barriers between air travelers and where they want to go.”
LAWA Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey said, “This is an important milestone in the continuing modernization of LAX. The partnership with Alaska Airlines has enabled significant improvements in customer service and convenience for the traveler.”
The New “Airport of the Future” Check-in Process
- Instead of waiting in line at a traditional ticket counter, customers who haven’t already checked in online or with a mobile device can check-in at a self-service kiosk, where they can print their boarding passes and pay for checked bags. Customers with carry-on luggage would proceed directly to the passenger security screening checkpoint conveniently located in Alaska’s Terminal 6.
- Passengers checking luggage would then take their bag to a bag-check station, where customer service agents scan customers’ boarding passes and attach bag tags. A new conveyor belt system weighs the luggage and moves it automatically through a state-of-the-art, baggage security screening system and then on to the aircraft.
According to Alaska Airline officials, the innovative design is expected to reduce average customer wait times from 20 minutes to typically less than four minutes, as it also has in Anchorage and Seattle where the carrier already uses the “Airport of the Future” design. Today, more than 70 percent of the airline’s customers check-in online, on a mobile device or at a check-in kiosk, which are available at almost all of the 92 airports Alaska serves.
Other features of the renovated Terminal 6 include a new Board Room airline lounge, electrical outlets at half the seats in spacious boarding gate areas, a central service counter, and new state-of-the-art gate information displays. The construction project also incorporated many sustainable building practices in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. The airline’s Board Room was LEED-designed with numerous energy-efficient and environmental features including low-flow water fixtures that reduce consumption 30 percent compared compared to traditional fixtures, energy-efficient lighting systems and Energy Star-certified appliances.