Spirit Airlines is expanding its biometric bag-drop system in the United States. The company already uses biometrics to offer self-bag drop services at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, and LaGuardia Airport in New York, and has now brought the same utility to passengers departing from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta.
To use the biometric bag drop system, Spirit passengers must first check in and bring their boarding pass to a bag drop terminal. Once that boarding pass has been scanned, they will be asked whether or not they want to opt into the self-service option. Those who do not will be referred to an agent to complete the process manually. Those who do will be asked to present a photo ID. The system will scan the ID, and take a photo of the individual to perform a facial recognition match. It will also cross-reference the information on that ID with the flight registry to make sure that that person is supposed to be at the airport.
If everything checks out, the passenger will be allowed to place their tagged bag on the conveyor belt, and to pay for any other services they may desire. The solution does not transmit any personal information to a government third-party during the bag-drop process.
The Spirit bag drop system takes advantage of passenger screening technology from Materna IPS. The APEX/IFSA Awards selected the solution as its Best Airport Innovation of 2021, while the American Business Awards gave it a Stevie for being the Best New Transportation Product or Service. Spirit believes that it will reduce the time needed for bag drop by 30 percent, to the point that it will only take 70 seconds for the average guest.
“Our Guests are tech-savvy, and they appreciate options for controlling their travel journey,” said Spirit Airport Services VP Mike Byrom. “The technology is advantageous for Guests because it complements our staffing and helps preserve consistency of service.”
The new system is part of a broader push for digital transformation in the air travel industry. Spirit is hoping that its automated services will minimize physical contact between passengers and airline employees during the pandemic.
March 30, 2022 – by Eric Weiss