Phoenix Sky Harbor offers free
Before the SUV had come to a complete halt, Rick Henderson was already sprinting toward the curb.
welcome to early bag check! he said. The driver smiled, rolled down his window and handed Henderson his driver license.
Henderson returned to his kiosk, one of three under the shadow of the behemoth East Economy parking garage, about a mile from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. With a few clicks, he pulled up the driver itinerary and printed a boarding pass and baggage check tags, and then retrieved the man suitcase from his car.
all set, sir, Henderson told him. a good flight! driver pulled away and drove toward the East Economy garage, suitcase dispensed with and boarding pass in hand. Returning to his station, Henderson waited for the next car to pull up to the curb.
usually run out and greet them, Henderson said. here to make it really easy because nobody knows what to do. This is brand spanking new. service is free, curbside early bag check and, to the knowledge of airport officials and many travel experts, Sky Harbor is the first airport in the country to offer it. Early bag check has been available at the East Economy lot since Dec. 11 but will roll out in full once the PHX Sky Train opens Monday.
Early bag check kiosks were built into the design of the Sky Train East Economy and 44th Street stations, in part to relieve congestion at the airport ticket counters and security checkpoints, Sky Harbor spokeswoman Deborah Ostreicher said.
Last fall, the airport entered into a one year agreement with Bags Inc., an Orlando based company that works with hotels, airports and airlines to offer early bag check services. (The company also delivers baggage to a traveler final destination under a service called Bags VIP.) Bags Inc. has long contracted with Disney resorts, cruise lines and car rental counters, and typically charges a fee of $10 to $15 for early bag check service.
Under the agreement with Sky Harbor, travelers flying Southwest Airlines or US Airways can check their bags in early for free. The airlines individual checked baggage fees will still apply. The contract for one year of service is about $400,000, with the airport covering 60 percent and airlines covering 40 percent.
The service got off to a slow start, said Henderson, who is the poster child for early bag check. (It is his face that appears on banners throughout Sky Harbor advertising the service.) Henderson remembers the first week that early bag check opened at the East Economy lot, when Phoenix was going through an unusual cold spell, and drivers would crack their windows just enough to slide their driver licenses to him.
In that first week, Henderson estimates h omega watches e checked 35 to 40 bags a day, most from people who spotted the bright blue banners on the garage. Now, he estimates it about 125 a day, and he has started to recognize repeat travelers.
couple weeks ago, I checked in a family. Ten kids. They had nine bags, Henderson said. if you had to haul all that to the terminal. bag check is available only for drop off, so travelers returning to Sky Harbor must still pick up their luggage on the carousels inside the terminal and contend with getting it back to the parking lot. Still, officials think the service could make at least one leg of a trip less cumbersome.
you used it, you understand what an easy, reliable service this is to make your travel so much better than having to lug your bags farther than you already do, said D Mica, a Bags Inc. spokeswoman.
Since December, Bags Inc. has processed nearly 9,800 pieces of luggage at Sky Harbor East Economy lot, all delivered on time, Mica said. After the 44th Street Sky Train station opens on Monday, allowing people to connect to the Sky Train via the light rail, officials expect that number to increa omega watches se considerably.
Officials may first have to overcome people doubts about the new service. Travelers have been known to be skeptical of checking a bag even when they can see the conveyor belt inside the terminal; now they being asked to let go of their bags more than a mile away from the airport.
It can take a while to get used to the idea, Henderson said.
had a few people who are like, is Bags? said Henderson, contorting his face as he squinted at the company name screened on his shirt. do you get my bags to the airport? Henderson scans a piece of luggage into the system, he loads it onto a wheeled cage. When a cage is full, he seals and puts it on a truck, which goes to the airport screening facility. From there, it checked with the rest of the airport luggage and sorted for distribution.
Bags Inc. agents and drivers must meet federal measures required by the Transportation Security Administration, receiving exact same training and certification as airline agents and security guards, Mica sa omega watches id. The seals and cages they use to transport checked baggage are TSA approved.
Since Sky Harbor is the first to offer free curbside bag check, Bags Inc. does not yet have statistics on who exactly is using the service.
now, it people who are figuring out that it even exists, Mica said. the demographics of people that park in that parking lot right now. if the service goes well at Sky Harbor, the company thinks it could start a new trend at airports across the country.
had other airports express interest in this service, Mica said. refining and redefining and following what the market is asking for. Existing blog comments will displ omega watches ay, but new comments will only be accepted via the Facebook comment system. To begin commenting, you must be logged into an active personal account on Facebook. Once you’re logged in, you will be able to comment. While we welcome you to join conversations, readers are responsible for their comments and abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users judged to violate our Terms of Service and Rules of Engagement. Facebook comments FAQ
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