Finnair's excellent SMS check-in service

cover image for Finnair's excellent SMS check-in service

This is probably old news to most, but since I usually fly SAS my flight yesterday to Manchester for the State of the Map and GUADEC conferences was the first time I ran into Finnair’s check-in SMS service.

I was sitting in a meeting about three hours before the flight and suddenly got a message to my cell phone:

FINNAIR check-in: AY937 Helsinki-Manchester 17.07.2007 departure 16:00 seat 15A window. Confirm by replying A.

Since this seemed like a useful service I replied, and immediately got a confirmation for the seat.

Finnair Embraer

At the airport I then dropped my bag to a luggage drop point, and just walked to the gate. No boarding passes or any other papers beside my passport were needed. And few hours later I was in central Manchester, looking for a hotel.

This is a very good way of providing an SMS service. The usual way these services work is that the user has to remember a number and an obscure syntax for typing the request. On Finnair’s service this is not required as the SMS service is initiated from the service provider’s end and user is clearly told what to do if they want to continue. Opting out is done by just ignoring the message.

And since probably most recipients of the message will find it useful, it doesn’t get considered SMS spam.

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