Spirt Airlines unveiled its redesigned ticket lobby at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) with new technology aimed at limiting face-to-face interaction and streamlining flight check-ins.
The new ticketing lobby design, which the low-cost carrier said will expand to other cities soon, lets travelers tag their own checked bags and then send them to the plane using an automated self-bag drop unit equipped with biometric photo-matching. Testing data shows the new procedure drops average processing time to just 70 seconds per passenger, reducing time spent at bag check by 30 percent.
Spirit began developing the nation’s first biometric photo-matching solution for domestic air travel last year in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Upon completion of that evaluation and approval by the TSA, Spirit expects the biometric photo-matching solution to eventually eliminate the need to stop and hand government-issued identification to an agent.
The self-bag drop system uses software capable of analyzing key physical features on more than 50,000 forms of ID from nearly 200 countries that a passenger could potentially use when traveling in the United States.
“We knew early on that automation and biometric photo-matching would make the check-in process smoother,” said Ted Christie, Spirit president and CEO. “Now in 2020, we’re realizing those same elements are just as valuable when it comes to helping people feel comfortable flying. Limiting touchpoints and unnecessary face-to-face interactions will change the way airports operate.”
Spirit began testing the new technology at LGA early this year with hardware partner Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions (IPS) North America. Guests check around 1,000 bags daily right now at ORD and LGA, and Spirit expects that number to more than double that volume when demand for air travel returns to normal, 90 percent of which the airline expects to process via self-bag drop.