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Case Study

A Use Case for Virtual Queuing Technology at Airports

Airports can be daunting experiences for passengers, and long lines make this transportation nerve center even more stressful. When you add in the complications of holiday travel, inclement weather, and flight delays, you have a recipe for the top evening news story: hundreds of frustrated, exhausted, stranded passengers waiting in eternal queues. Long lines are tolerable, at best, when they are simply lengthy because of the busy-ness of the airport. But a queue that’s long and getting longer because of delays can unnerve even the most experienced traveler.


One major airline found a way to address the madness caused by flight “issues” by using virtual queuing in the customer service area to manage the hundreds and sometimes thousands of passengers who feel the sting of a flight delay or cancellation. They’ve discovered that a great solution to waiting is having no line at all. By eliminating the physical line entirely using virtual queuing technology, the airline avoids the task of having to ask tense and sometimes aggressive passengers to patiently wait in a snaking line for their turn and their new transportation option.

Here’s how it works:

  • Passengers enter the virtual waiting area where they scan their current boarding pass. This registers them in the virtual queue while simultaneously porting their information to dedicated airline personnel who are assigned to figure out the solutions to flight delay cases. This registration officially places the passenger in the queue and frees them from having to stand in any sort of line.
  • The passenger is also given an estimated wait time so they know when to return to the waiting area, which means the mind-numbing feeling of being stuck waiting is tremendously mitigated.
  • When passengers do return to the virtual queuing area at the appointed time for some sort of resolution, they will be scanned in and notified of their progress and the status of their flight situation.

However, just because the waiting part is softened, that doesn’t mean the results of their travel status will be ideal. They may be asked to return the following day at a specific time to have their flight issue resolved. Or, perhaps the forthcoming solution is taking longer than anticipated and the passenger has to be re-queued when their problem can’t be solved the first time around. Though the unpredictability of airline flight delays can be difficult to overcome, passengers fare much better when some of the uncertainty is eliminated. A virtual queue makes that happen.


Passengers who are registered in the virtual queue know how long their wait will be. Rather than feeling burdened at having to stay in one place in hopes of a quicker reprieve from waiting or an opportunity to snag a suddenly free service agent, many passengers have the freedom to leave the airport entirely. They can rent a hotel room, or find a place to rest or eat other than on a terminal floor. They’re distracted from the wait at hand and less stressed out as a result.

Virtual queueing manages the passenger flow far more efficiently, so the herd of flightless passengers is scattered rather than waiting in one large knot of people. The scrambling to get a better position in line or that feeling of pressure to get the attention of a service agent is eliminated. Everyone is in the queue and everyone will be served as solutions become available for them. Through virtual queuing the airline can better manage individuals and even groups of passengers, providing them with as much information as possible while alleviating the agony of waiting.

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