Japanese Massage Chairs are Replacing Airport Workers in Tokyo

It began with customers checking themselves in online and at kiosks – indeed, airlines have pressured staff to require their customers to first try to check in at a kiosk and only receive human assistance if the machines fail.

Even the checked baggage process has become more automated, with customers printing their own bag tags as well as some airlines like Qantas offering permanent bag tags that work with RFID readers at the airport. You check in electronically and drop your bag at the bag drop and leave.

Amsterdam airport rolled out a robot to assist lost passengers. And EVA Air in Taipei has customer service robots named Pepper.

    Credit: EVA Air

Some airlines let you scan your own boarding pass for lounge entry.

The federal government is now working on facial recognition technology which would presumably replace TSA document checkers except that the TSA is now represented by a government union.

Now Japan Airlines is eliminating massages in its Tokyo airport lounges and will be adding additional massaging chairs instead effective October 1. (HT: Rob F.)

From October 1, 2017, the relaxation service offered by massage therapists in the international lounge at Narita Airport and Haneda Airport will be discontinued, and 3S Takumi medical massage chairs will be increased to offer relaxation service to more customers.

There are some functions where machines are likely better than people. Massage isn’t likely one of those.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. We need sex robots. Imagine crime will down so much if everyone gets their own human looking robot to use, abuse and do whatever.

    Will busybodies regulate how I should treat my robot?

  2. their F lounge has been less competitive than CX…now they cut down again. Not a wise decision.

  3. The chairs aren’t bad. Figuring out how to use them is difficult.

    Robots are a real and growing threat to employment for many not just the low skilled or paid. Robots mean larger profits for those with the capital to utilize them and an uncertain future for the people who lose their jobs to them

  4. I tried the chair twice at Sakura lounge in KIX. Must’ve been very sleepy and/or drunk as it seemed relaxing at the time.

  5. Once robots replacing humans was a plot played out in dystopian fiction, now it gradually turns into reality. Let’s hope that at least reality will be utopic, and dystopia will remain with fiction.

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