Spirit Airlines’ guests can now breeze through check-in at Orlando International Airport (MCO) with the addition of the airline’s award-winning self-bag drop with biometric photo-matching.
Spirit today celebrated 30 years of service in Orlando with the official unveiling of 19 newly installed self-bag drop units at MCO. It’s the largest set-up of its kind for the carrier at any airport and more than triple the size of Spirit’s next largest self-bag drop operation.
Self-bag drop allows Guests to check bags directly without working with an agent. Spirit’s machines are also equipped with biometric photo-matching capability that compares a scan of government-issued identification with a photo of the Guest for verification. Following an initial testing period at MCO with both manual ID check and biometric opt-in, the solution will eliminate the need to hand government-issued identification to an agent when checking baggage.
“We’ve grown to become largest ultra-low-fare carrier at MCO, and adding this convenient, self-service option is a significant investment that gives our Guests more control over their journey while spending less time in the lobby,” said Mike Byrom, Vice President of Airports & Crew Services for Spirit Airlines. “We thank the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority for their partnership as we celebrate 30 years in this community, and we appreciate the opportunity to provide More Go for travelers to enjoy all that Orlando has to offer.”
Spirit developed the nation’s first biometric photo-matching solution for domestic air travel in 2019 with its partner Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions (IPS) North America. Spirit was also the first to pursue combining it with automated self-bag drop capabilities to reduce interactions and increase efficiency. The system is also operating at Atlanta (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX), and it was recognized for two prestigious awards: the “2021 Best Airport Innovation” by the APEX/IFSA Awards, and the Skift 2021 IDEA Awards Winner in the Aviation Category that honors the companies, projects and campaigns driving the travel industry forward.
Here’s how the solution works:
Guests start by tagging their own checked bags after checking in at the kiosk and then proceed to the self-bag drops.
Guests are advised of the biometric option after scanning their boarding pass at the self-bag drop unit. They may either opt in and continue unassisted or opt out for agent-assisted service.
Once the Guest opts in, the unit instructs them to scan their ID on the built-in hardware.
The unit compares its scan of the photo on the ID with a facial scan captured by its on-board camera, along with comparing ID information with the Guest’s reservation details. None of the data is transmitted to any government agency.
A successful match initiates the rest of the bag check-in process. Guests are instructed to place their bags on the conveyor belt attached to the unit, which then scans the bags, weighs them, accepts payment for any additional services, and sends them straight into the airport’s checked baggage system without further action from the Guest.
Spirit Guests currently check up to 8,000 bags a day on peak days at MCO, each of which represents an agent interaction that can be streamlined. Testing data show the new procedure drops average processing time to just 70 seconds per Guest, reducing time spent at bag check by 30 percent. Additionally, Guests can take advantage of the time savings and reduction in interactions whether they’re travelling domestically or internationally.
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 Guest could potentially use when traveling in the United States. Combined with the units’ scanning hardware, the software confirms the authenticity of an ID and rejects fraudulent documents before Guests check their baggage.
The self-bag drop system will complement Spirit’s large presence in Orlando. The airline currently offers service from MCO to more than 50 destinations, including 11 international destinations. Spirit added service from MCO to ten new destinations in the last two years alone. Orlando is home to one of Spirit’s Flight Attendant training centers and one of its operations control centers (OCC), and MCO is home to one of the carrier’s largest Pilot and Flight Attendant crew bases.