Spirit Airlines launches self-bag drop at Detroit DTW

A Spirit Airlines self-drop bag facility at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport
Photo Credit: Spirit Airlines

Spirit Airlines has launched a self-bag drop system with biometric photo-matching technology at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW).

This innovative solution streamlines the check-in process, making it quicker, more convenient, and highly secure.

Streamlining Check-in

Spirit Airlines takes pride in being the first airline to introduce this cutting-edge technology at DTW.

The six newly installed self-bag drop units, strategically placed next to the Spirit ticket counter in the Evans Terminal, are the latest addition to the airline’s ground network.

This achievement is the result of a collaborative effort between Spirit Airlines and the Wayne County Airport Authority.

The self-bag drop system empowers travelers to check their bags independently, without the need for assistance from airline agents. What sets Spirit’s system apart is its integration of biometric photo-matching technology.

This technology compares a scan of the traveler’s government-issued identification with a live photo of the traveler, providing an extra layer of security and efficiency to the baggage check process.


Spirit Airlines Comments

Jason Fogelman, Senior Director of Airport Innovation, Standards, and Training at Spirit Airlines, spoke of the airline’s commitment to improving the passenger experience:

“We pioneered this cutting-edge technology to streamline the check-in experience for our Guests and reduce time spent in the lobby, and its arrival in Detroit is an exciting first for DTW.”

“Spirit has a long history of serving Detroit, and we thank the Wayne County Airport Authority for their partnership and support in launching self-bag drop at DTW.”

Spirit Airlines has been at the forefront of innovation in air travel. In 2019, in partnership with Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions (IPS) North America, Spirit developed the nation’s first biometric photo-matching solution for domestic air travel.

They were also the first to combine it with automated self-bag drop capabilities, reducing interactions and increasing efficiency.

This new system has already been implemented at major airports like Atlanta (ATL), Chicago O’Hare (ORD), Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), Los Angeles (LAX), and Orlando (MCO).

It has garnered recognition and accolades, including the “2021 Best Airport Innovation” award by the APEX/IFSA Awards and the Skift 2021 IDEA Awards Winner in the Aviation Category.

Photo Credit: Spirit Airlines

How the System Works

Understanding how the self-bag drop system functions is key to appreciating its benefits:

Self-Tagging: Travelers begin by tagging their own checked bags at the kiosk after checking in.

Biometric Option: After scanning their boarding pass at the self-bag drop unit, travelers are given the option to opt in for the biometric process or opt for agent-assisted service.

ID Scan: For those who opt in, the unit instructs them to scan their government-issued ID on the built-in hardware.

Biometric Verification: The system compares the scanned ID photo with a facial scan captured by its onboard camera, cross-referencing the ID information with the traveler’s reservation details. Importantly, none of this data is transmitted to any government agency.

Successful Match: If the system successfully matches the information, it proceeds to check in the bags.

Travelers are then guided to place their bags on the conveyor belt attached to the unit, which scans, weighs, and accepts payment for any additional services, sending the bags directly into the airport’s checked baggage system.

Enhancing the Passenger Experience

Chad Newton, Chief Executive Officer of the Wayne County Airport Authority, highlighted the positive impact of these self-bag drop units:

“We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience at DTW, and Spirit’s self-bag drop units align perfectly with our aim to take the stress out of travel.”

“We’re proud to have invested in the construction of the self-bag drop units to streamline our passengers’ check-in process and give them more power over their travel experience.”

Each bag checked through this system represents an agent interaction that can be streamlined. Testing data reveal that this new procedure reduces average processing time to just 70 seconds per traveler, cutting down time spent at bag check by a remarkable 30 percent.

This time-saving advantage applies to travelers whether they are flying domestically or internationally.

Advanced Security Measures

The self-bag drop system is equipped with state-of-the-art software capable of analyzing key physical features on more than 50,000 forms of ID from nearly 200 countries.

This comprehensive capability ensures that any ID used by travelers in the United States is thoroughly examined.

Together with the unit’s scanning hardware, the software confirms the authenticity of an ID and promptly rejects any fraudulent documents, ensuring a secure check-in process.

A Long-Standing Relationship

Spirit Airlines has a rich history with Detroit, having initiated service in the city back in 1992. Currently, the airline offers up to 34 departures from DTW on peak days.

DTW also houses one of Spirit’s Pilot and Flight Attendant crew bases, as well as a maintenance hangar where a majority of the carrier’s newly delivered aircraft are prepared for service.

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 6 Min Read
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