The service is being introduced first for passengers flying out of London Heathrow airport, and is sold as a digital ancillary available during online check-in, up to 24 hours before the flight. AirPortr will collect the bags from any London address and check the bags for the passengers so that they only have to worry about collecting luggage upon arrival at their destination.
Prices vary by number of bags to be collected and rush status. For example, one bag collected within a 1 hour window will cost 30 pounds, but customers can check up to four bags for 40 Pounds Sterling, with a 3 hour window for pickup. AirPort can accommodate any irregular luggage that the airline’s carriage rules allow, including items like prams and bicycles. AirPort also offers passengers pick-up services for bags when arriving in London, with luggage delivered directly to their home or hotel.
Sari Nevanlinna, head of ancillary business at Finnair said: “Based on the upcoming feedback we receive on this initiative, we’ll also look into expanding the service to other markets in the future.”
Finnair expects that the service will be particularly popular with business travellers because it frees them to have more time for meetings without worrying about handling their bags. It may also prove popular with families, though, since traveling with both children and luggage is a lot for parents to worry about.
These are examples of friction points along the journey that the NEXTT program introduced by IATA and the Airports Council International (ACI) last year will address. NEXTT, which stands for New Experience in Travel and Technologies, aims to foster a simplified journey for the 7.8 billion passengers expected to fly by 2036 by applying innovation and technology to eliminate hurdles, queues and service failures.
The program focuses on three key areas for aircraft, cargo and passenger services:
- Off-airport activities: investigating transferring on-site processes, such as security processing and baggage check and drop-off, offsite to earlier points in the journey, These processes could take place at the passenger’s home, hotels, rail and other transport services.
- Advanced processing technology: looking at advanced technology like tracking and identification, automation and robotics can improve efficiency, safety, security, and the passenger experience.
- Interactive decision-making: promoting better use of data, predictive modelling and artificial intelligence for real-time decision-making.
The NEXTT proposal for off-site baggage management includes using third party services for collection and check-in. IATA and ACI also propose a traceable, unique Bag ID that would allow detailed tracking of the luggage and sharing of information with customers as an additional feature. This could be achieved through technologies like RFID which are already supporting better baggage management as required by IATA Resolution 753.
The Finnair and AirPortr partnership follows successful adoption of the AirPortr baggage pre-check by oneworld airlines British Airways at Heathrow and Gatwick, and with American Airlines at Gatwick. Finnair will be promoting the ancillary option on pre-departure e-mails sent to customers as well as in the “Manage Booking” portal of its website.
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