Spirit Airlines has begun offering an automated self-service bag drop at its New York LaGuardia ticket counter. Spirit says the service is a first for the airport. 

Spirit plans to install self-service bag drops across the U.S. in 2020 and 2021 as part of its Invest in the Guest initiative. 

“Adoption of self-bag-drop machines is high in Europe, Asia and Canada, and we see a bright future for this technology to improve the guest experience in the U.S.,” said Spirit CEO Ted Christie.

Spirit’s four LaGuardia units were manufactured by Materna, which has also supplied self-service bag drop machines in Denver, Minneapolis-St. Paul, London Gatwick, Toronto and other airports across Europe and Asia. 

Materna stations shave at least 30 seconds off the 1 minute and 30 seconds it typically takes to check bags at a traditional counter, said Gary McDonald, Materna’s president for North America. 

In LaGuardia, Spirit guests who use the automated machines start by printing a bag tag at a kiosk as they check in. Once they tag their bags, they proceed to the bag drop machines, where they scan their boarding pass to initiate the process. The machine then measures, weighs and scans the bags to ensure that they are the correct size and weight, before automatically feeding them into the baggage-handling system.

An agent is in the area to assist and to meet security requirements that an agent manually verify that the person checking bags is the ticketed passenger.


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