Self-service baggage check-in trialled at Bristol Airport as holiday season takes off

July 20, 2017

Bristol Airport is trialling self-service bag drop technology aimed at cutting passenger queues as it prepares for its busiest weekends of the year.

The bag drop pilot is being piloted for passengers flying with easyJet – the airport’s largest operator serving 64 destinations.

The scheme – already being used at other airports – is aimed at reducing processing time and queuing compared to the standard system for checking in luggage. Passengers use a self-service kiosk to weigh and tag their bags before placing them into the baggage system at a bag drop desk.

EasyJet has installed 12 self-service kiosks and four bag drop desks within its check-in area in the terminal, pictured. Staff are on hand to offer guidance and assistance to passengers throughout the trial.  

The trial is taking place as Bristol Airport expects more than 110,000 passengers over the next four days, starting today, as the summer holiday season gets under way.

EasyJet opened the world’s largest self-service bag drop area at Gatwick Airport last year with 48 fully automated self-service bag drop. At the time the airline said it wanted to get more than 90% of its passengers flying from Gatwick to wait less than five minutes at bag drop.

Most airlines operate a form of self-service check-in and bag tag although luggage is usually still weighed manually by staff at a drop-off desk. Most easyJet passengers check-in online before arriving at the airport and either print out their boarding pass or have it on their mobile phone.

Bristol Airport head of operations support Phil Holder said the trial was already speeding up the process for passengers and the initial feedback had been very positive.  

“We are always looking for ways to improve the passenger experience and this trial is an example of how the latest technology can enhance the airport journey,” he said.

EasyJet UK country manager Ali Gayward added: “We recognise that our customers’ airport experience is a hugely important part of their overall journey and so we are delighted to be part of Bristol Airport’s self-service bag drop trial.

“As we approach the summer, our busiest time of the year, we want our customers to have a seamless journey through the airport, enabling their summer holidays to get off to the best of starts.”

The system has been designed by US avionics and IT giant Rockwell Collins. Its head of airport systems sales Paul Hickox said: “There is no ‘one-size fits all’ bag drop solution because different airlines have different passenger processing models.

“We were able to create the best solution for Bristol Airport because of our deep understanding of airports and bag drop technology. We look forward to seeing the new self-bag drop solution from have a positive impact for passengers as it has done in all other deployments in recent months.”

Bristol Airport said the top destinations this summer are Malta, Kefalonia and Pula (Croatia) while the long-haul destinations of Florida and Mexico, launched earlier this summer, continued to prove popular. 

Air traffic controllers said today is likely to be their busiest day ever with more than 8,800 flights landing and taking off from UK airports.


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