Singapore's Changi Airport, which keeps winning 'world's best airport' prizes, has opened a new terminal that goes as far as any airport has to completely automating check-in and departure—but not all the passengers who've tried it have succeeded.
Among the first hundred or so passengers who tried it last week, quite a few found it confusing enough to head for nearby manned kiosks. In theory, the traveler should arrive, check in on a machine that uses facial scanning and other technology, drop bags, and board the plane without talking to anyone.
Moving large numbers of passengers quickly is important for the airport, which not only serves its city, but also millions of passengers transiting to other destinations. It's a popular stopping point, for instance, on flights between the U.S. and Australia. But, it competes for that business with Hong Kong, Bangkok, and the middle-eastern hubs.
The new Terminal 4, which cost about $725 million in U.S. dollars, has an annual capacity of 16 million passengers.