Thursday, February 16, 2017
Orlando International Airport approves Bags Inc. pilot program
By Caitlin Dineen
The Orlando (FL) Sentinel
Orlando International Airport plans to use its remote sorting facility to alleviate the volume of bags screened inside the main terminal. The facility currently handles luggage for Walt Disney World guests.
Leaders at Orlando International Airport on Wednesday approved a one-year contract with Bags Inc. to offer remote airline check-in services.
The pilot project, which could start as soon as next month, would help alleviate congestion within the airport’s baggage system, said Phil Brown, the airport’s executive director. The service would provide passengers with boarding passes and luggage check-in services on the first two levels of the airport’s A and B parking garages, he said.
None of the baggage would be processed at the terminal’s main baggage handling system, which currently handles luggage for 42 million annual passengers at a facility originally built for 24 million. On the busiest day, the main terminal system handles about 60,000 pieces of luggage. That system has been upgraded over the years, but the demand on the system is still too much.
Bags collected at those checkpoints would be transferred to a remote sorting facility for processing and screening if they’re dropped off at least 90 minutes before a flight’s departure time.
“That helps us with the capacity issues that we have with the baggage screening system,” Brown said.
The contract, approved at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority’s monthly meeting, will cost up to $685,404. Initial start-up costs are $35,748, to pay for the purchase of hardware and software equipment.
Passengers will not have to pay a fee to use the remote service, Brown said.
Orlando-based Bags will be responsible for securing agreements with airlines that wish to participate in the program. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines are program participants. All airlines operating at Orlando International can sign up.
The remote check-in service is offered at various airports, hotels and cruise ship terminals around the country.
Locally, the service is offered at three Rosen hotel properties: Rosen Shingle Creek, Rosen Centre Hotel and Rosen Plaza Hotel. Those properties also offer the Bags VIP Luggage Delivery services. Bags inked the deal with hotelier Harris Rosen in 2014.
That facility first opened in 2006 as part of Disney’s Magical Express, which provides complimentary transportation for guests and their luggage between Orlando International and Walt Disney World resort hotels.
Bags taken there go through the same screening process handled by a dedicated staff of Transportation Security Administration agents. At peak, the facility processes between 6,000 and 7,000 bags daily. Overall, Brown said, it has a capacity of 15,000.
Luggage is then sorted and taken directly to its intended aircraft without entering the main terminal.
“It’s a very efficient system,” he said. Got a news tip? cdineen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx or 407-420-5414; Twitter: @CaitlinDineen