Emirates are claiming a world first in the shape of a check-in robot called ‘Sara’, launched at the first edition of ForsaTEK, an annual event uniting high-profile tech and industry stakeholders, start-ups and other protagonists in the aviation industry.
1. What is Sara?
Sara looks like a squat but sleek Star Wars service droid and can identify passengers’ faces by matching them with scanned passports, as well as check people in and help them find drop-off points for their baggage.
While self-service check-in kiosks do exist elsewhere, Sara is claimed to be unique in that she can roam around and find passengers to assist. The unusual check-in assistant is expected to add around 30% capacity and her value should really come into its own when a number of customers have a short task to complete such as transit or flight changes.
2. Where can I meet her?
She is due to be rolled out over the coming months but her debut, alongside traditional human Emirates staff and travel advisors at a swish new City Check-in and Travel Store in Dubai’s DFIC finance district, provides the perfect opportunity for Emirates to highlight their latest facility.
Our new location is the first ultra-convenient check-in and baggage drop facility conveniently located in the DIFC area. People can avoid busy periods at the airport and minimise queuing.Adel al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer
Opened last week at ICD Brookfield Place, close to downtown Dubai’s Mall, the Burj Khalifa and Museum of the Future, and open from 08:00 to 22:00 daily, the remote check-in option allows passengers to choose when to check-in up to 24-hours ahead and dodge the crowds.
What’s more, with a valid boarding pass, you can gain complimentary access to a range of restaurants, gyms, luxury stores, and art galleries at the Brookfield facility, to break up any travel time tedium.
With valet and self-parking options, taxis, chauffeurs, as well as a public metro just 10 minutes away on foot with a direct line to the airport, the new check-in hub presents a great alternative to existing airport routes.
3. Will Sara evolve?
Over the next few years, Sara is expected to better integrate AI to be able to assist passengers with hotel bookings and visa or immigration status.
We’ll be taking it to a step higher than just a check-in robot.Adel al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer
Sara meanwhile will start to appear in over 200 locations. She is ready to meet the public. Could production at volume be the only barrier to her world domination?