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Aviation: German Airline Launches Automated Luggage Drop-off

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With on line check ins and the impending arrival of automatic baggage drop-off machines, Michael Taylor ponders the possibility of sleeping at the airport in a paid-in lounge the night before an early morning departure.

I have been taking advantage of checking in on line on recent trips, but sometimes I don't quite understand what the advantage is. While the lines seem a bit shorter, they are not always THAT much shorter than the lines for those that have not already checked in.

And the experience at the check in counter seems to take every bit as much time as it did in the past.

From what I read in the newspaper and on line, things are about to get better. Take Lufthansa German Airlines, for example. The airline has installed what it calls “innovative technologies” at its three most important airports in Germany: Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich.

Thanks to the new technology, passengers can check in on line, via a mobile device, or at a check-in machine at the airport. They can then drop off their luggage at one of the 39 automated baggage machines that have been installed in the three airport terminals.

The machine will scan the bar codes imprinted on their boarding pass. After their suitcases have been sent on their way, passengers can head straight for security and continue on to their gate.

Comment and Analysis

This brings up an intriguing concept.

I have always hated the stress of rushing to the airport at the break of dawn to catch an early morning flight. I have often considered spending the night before an early morning flight at a hotel near the airport. But the cost would be prohibitive.

If I could check in up to 23 hours in advance of departure, does that mean it would be possible for me to arrive at the airport the night before an early morning flight, drop off my luggage, and spend the night sleeping in a paid in lounge?

In the morning, I would be only minutes from the gate – rather than having to wake up a few hours before my flight departs.

I'm not sure if that will be possible, but I will definitely find out as soon as this service is available in Hong Kong!

 

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