Brussels Airport and Brussels Airlines test self-service baggage drop-off
An increasing number of travellers are using the self-check-in machines in the departures hall or check in online from home, from their office or through their smartphone before leaving for the airport. However, if they are carrying hold baggage, they still need to proceed to a desk at the airport for a check-in procedure that only processes baggage. The new machine that is currently being tested, now also frees passengers from the latter. Henceforth, passengers will be able to check in both themselves and their baggage.
Brussels Airport is one of the first European airports to integrate these automated check-in units for hold baggage into the existing check-in desks. However, to be able to use these units, passengers need to be in possession of a self-printed or mobile boarding pass. Passengers insert their suitcase into the machine and scan their boarding pass. The machine weighs the bag and checks its dimensions, prints the baggage tag and shows the passenger how to attach the tag to their bag. Next, the checked-in bag follows the usual itinerary through the airport baggage sorting system to the aircraft hold. For the passenger, the whole check-in procedure takes about one minute. If the bag is overweight or does not meet the baggage size limits, the passenger is referred to the manned check-in desk. For the time being, the same also goes for passengers who wish to check in several pieces of baggage.
During the trial period which lasts until this summer, two self baggage drop-off units are available in the departures hall near Brussels Airlines check-in row 5. Passengers who travel with Brussels Airlines will be encouraged by the airport staff to actually use the units. “During the trial stage we will test the user-friendliness of the technology”, explains Brussels Airlines Vice President Ground Operations Peter Cornillie. “If the results are positive, the automated baggage check-in system will become a permanent option for all of our passengers travelling within Europe.”
Ward Decaluwé, Director Operations of The Brussels Airport Company confirms that in time other airlines too will be able to use this technology: “Brussels Airlines is our natural partner for important test projects such as this. The technology and the set-up we chose require a far-reaching integration in the traditional baggage and check-in systems from our point of view as well as the airline’s.”
This test project is part of the efforts made by Brussels Airport and Brussels Airlines to increase the check-in comfort of their passengers. Passengers who choose to use the system, do not only speed up their own check-in process, they also contribute to reducing the queuing times for other passengers. If the test project proofs successful, the self baggage drop-off units are sure to be added to the list. Technological innovations such as these always attract much attention from airport staff as well as passengers.
The units that will be installed at Brussels Airport were developed by the Dutch company Type22, a spin-off of the Technische Universiteit Delft (TU Delft). They are marketing the system under the name ‘Scan&Fly’.