Man and Machine

Many airlines in the United states have moved towards installing self-serve automated check-in machines directly in front of their counters at the airport. A small number of airline staff would be positioned behind these machines to handle the checking in of luggage, specifically the attaching of the sticky tag and then passing you the baggage claim stub.
While these machines means more service points for passengers needing a check-in, it has created a mess at the more crowded airports (namely LAX where I flew out of) as most passengers standing in line wait for the two or three counter staff to attend to them, rather than moving in to use the machines.
Is this a case of user education, or is it a process problem?
The check-in process, from the perspective of the airline, is fairly standard. From the passenger point of view, it is vastly different. They are likely to think of their needs as non-standard. They may not read English, have small children, be wheelchair-bound, or are simply uncomfortable using the touchscreen interface that frankly, needs to be improved.
The largest obstacle I see is that of checking in one's luggage. Nowhere have I seen a single sign saying how check-in luggage is addressed. Common-sense on the part of the passenger would lead them to deduce that the automated check-in counters do not handle the checking-in of luggage, as it would constitute a grave security risk, not to mention the possibility of them losing their luggage and unable to place that responsibility on someone actually paid to handle these things.
Perhaps it takes a while for passengers to warm up to the idea of helping themselves to the machines, but the path of least resistance definitely goes through the airline staff. It is the established method of checking yourself in.
Instead, I find myself at Tucson International's Southwest Airlines counter, checking myself and my luggage at the machine while the two counter staff chat with each other directly in front of me because there is no one else in line. It feels like I'm not being attended to. Or that they're not doing their jobs. But this is the new process which creates a negative customer experience.
Maybe a human-first, machine as backup process of checking people in?

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