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29 acceptance of self-tagging should not present a major chal- lenge as discussions with airport and airline representatives regarding self-service baggage check were generally very pos- itive; both entities see the advantages of this innovation and believe that the disadvantages could be overcome. The concept has also been embraced by IATA through its Simplifying the Business initiative. Figure 4-5. Bag-check plaza--linear layout. Bag-Check Plaza Examples The bag-check plaza would allow passengers to use SSDs to check in for flights, obtain boarding passes, and check bags A facility similar to the bag-check plazas currently in place while remaining with their vehicles. Upon completion of this at some airports is the remote baggage check-in facility. process, passengers would proceed to park their vehicles or Multiple airports in the United States allow third-party their well-wishers would drop them off at the curbside. While vendors to accept check bags and provide boarding passes to bag-check plazas could be located at close-in or remote park- passengers for a fee. At San Francisco International Airport, ing facilities, Figure 4-4 illustrates the general location of for example, passengers using the long-term parking facility a drive-through self-service bag-check plaza that would can check bags and obtain boarding passes for daily domes- serve a close-in parking structure and terminal building tic departures on 11 different airlines serving the airport. The curbside. Baggage would be transferred to the terminal service is operated by a third-party vendor that charges a building or, alternatively, to a remote baggage-screening nominal fee based on the number of bags checked. Passengers facility. A bag-check plaza serving close-in parking facilities are required to check their bags at least 75 min prior to their could use motorized belts to transport baggage directly to flight if using this parking facility. the processing area, while remote facilities would likely re- At Honolulu International Airport, Hawaiian Airlines and quire the bags to be trucked to the baggage-processing area. Aloha Airlines (prior to its cessation of service in April 2008) Figures 4-5 and 4-6 illustrate two alternative layouts for the offer(ed) drive-through bag check in the close-in parking bag-check plaza. Key Drivers The construction of a bag-check plaza would be driven by the need to decrease congestion on the curbside roadway and departures hall without increasing their physical size. Allowing passengers to check their bags at a location other than the curb- side would reduce the curbside roadway congestion associated with those vehicles dropping off passengers and baggage before parking. These facilities would also provide a customer service benefit resulting from the ability to check baggage prior to walking to the terminal building from parking. Passengers using the bag-check plaza could then bypass the ticketing and baggage check area of the terminal building and proceed directly to the SSCP, thereby reducing congestion in the tick- eting area and potentially deferring future capital expenses associated with expanding the departures hall. Figure 4-4. Bag-check plaza. Figure 4-6. Bag-check plaza--parallel layout.
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30 at an airport will depend upon many factors specific to the unique airport environment, including physical constraints. However, in general, those airports accommodating a high percentage of POV activity would likely be better suited for a bag-check plaza. To reduce staffing requirements and trans- action times, it was assumed that the facility would be self- service and that passengers would be able to tag their own bags prior to putting them onto the baggage conveyor belt. To capture as many passengers wishing to check baggage as possible, the facility would best be located in advance of high-capacity parking facilities offering a long-term product that caters to leisure and business travelers on long trips who are likely to have check baggage. It is unlikely that a bag-check plaza serving only a short-term (i.e., more expensive) park- Figure 4-7. Hawaiian Airlines drive-through check-in ing garage would produce sufficient demand to make the at Honolulu International Airport. facility viable since it tends to attract business travelers on Source: TransSolutions, LLC. short-trips who likely aren't checking bags. structure, as shown in Figure 4-7 and Figure 4-8, respectively. Passengers drive their vehicles to a bag-check-in area located Evaluation adjacent to the terminal or inside the parking structure. Vehicles are parked in drive-through-style parking spaces Passenger Perspective before passengers exit their vehicles to check their baggage The primary advantage of the bag-check plaza is that it re- and retrieve their boarding passes. When this transaction is lieves passengers of the need to carry their baggage from a completed, passengers return to their vehicles and drive to an close-in or remote parking facility to the terminal building. available space in the garage or drop their parties off at the de- Regardless of how close to the terminal they park, passengers partures curb. These passengers then proceed directly to the are still burdened by having to carry their baggage into the SSCP with their boarding passes in hand. building and to the check-in counter. In some cases, this process may require getting onto and off of a shuttle bus, Assumptions/Prerequisites which is particularly difficult for elderly and disabled passen- gers. Those passengers who would typically drop off their It is anticipated that bag-check plazas would be designed families and baggage at the curbside before parking could primarily for POVs (including returning rental car customers) save time by checking their baggage at the bag-check plaza that have two to four occupants wishing to check bags and and then parking. Once parked, passengers can avoid the in- obtain boarding passes. The suitability of this type of facility convenience of congestion and delays in the departures hall and proceed directly to the SSCP. A disadvantage could be that passengers have become accustomed to receiving assistance from an airline represen- tative if they have any difficulty checking in at a kiosk in the departures hall. Because the bag-check plaza would provide CUSS kiosks, passengers would not be able to speak directly with an airline representative. However, a roaming customer service agent would be available to provide assistance. Novice travelers who do not fully understand the check-in process may become confused and require more time, which would increase wait times for other passengers. In addition, the airline cut-off time for receiving bags at a remote bag-check plaza may require earlier-than-desired check-in times for departing passengers, depending on the Figure 4-8. Aloha Airlines drive-through check-in method used to transfer the bags to the terminal. This earlier at Honolulu International Airport. required check-in time may reduce the use of the bag-check Source: TransSolutions, LLC. plaza, which would, therefore, reduce its potential advantages.