Frequent travelers will soon receive a godsend courtesy of Google. The company is rolling out a new feature to the Google Assistant that will let you check in to your flights just by saying “Hey Google, check in to my flight.” You won’t have to dig through emails or screenshots to find your confirmation number while standing in front of a kiosk. Assistant is already clever enough to know what it is, and will work with airlines to seamlessly complete your check in.
Assistant will also be able to retrieve and save your boarding pass, and proactively remind you to check into your flight when it’s ready. You don’t have to install separate airline apps to get these features, either.
The Google Assistant on Android and iOS will be able to check you in to your flights. For now, you’ll only be able to use this feature for domestic flights on United Airlines, though, but the promise is to expand this to other airlines over time. To give this a try, you just say “Hey Google, check in to my flight” and off you go, ready to enjoy your stroopwafel once you step on board.
The Assistant will walk you through the check-in process, so it’s not all 100 percent automatic, but it still looks like a good user experience overall. If you’re all about being in control, changing your seats and checking the status of your upgrades, though, chances are you’ll still want to stick with the airline’s own app.
What’s in it for now?
Checking-in for a flight usually involves going to the airline’s website 24 hours before takeoff and remembering your confirmation number. Assistant already provides useful departure updates, but it will soon be able to automate that entire boarding workflow and reduce user hassle.
“Hey Google, check in to my flight” will begin the process entirely in Assistant and can ask if you have any checked bags. Once complete, “Hey Google, show me my boarding pass” will work at the gate to board the plane.
United Airlines in the U.S. will be the first to support this feature on domestic flights. It works by looking for confirmation messages in Gmail, and sending users an Assistant-branded reminder to check-in when time. Google will expand this feature to more airlines and flights soon.
Google does plan to spread these features to other airlines and hotel booking services in future, although it didn’t share when it expects to do that. For now, only those who frequently fly within the United States via United Airlines will be able to experience the convenience of having Assistant handle most of the hassle of travel. The rest of us will just have to wait and see.
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