Check bags when you check out
TIRED of schlepping your luggage to the airport only to languish in long check-in lines? Many fliers no longer have to.
A growing number of hotels, cruise ships and convention centers will print out your boarding pass, tag your bags and send them through security.
You just show up at the gate, board the plane and claim your luggage at your destination.
Sometimes the service is free; more often, you’ll pay fees up to $20 per person.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has cleared only a few companies for such off-airport skycap services. But the service is growing.
Since May 2005, one of the biggest players, Baggage Airline Guest Services, or BAGS, in Orlando, Fla., has doubled the number of airlines and tripled the cities it serves.
It works with Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Horizon, JetBlue, Northwest and United and has contracted with two other carriers, said Craig Mateer, chief executive and president.
You’ll find BAGS in dozen cities, from Boston to Seattle. In California, it works with cruise lines and the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego, plus the convention center and the airport in San Francisco. At the airport, it processes bags and boarding passes from the long-term parking garage for $5 per person.
BAGS also works with Walt Disney World in Florida, several cruise lines and several hotel chains. (At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, spokeswoman Jennifer Liu said the company was evaluating whether to offer such a service.)
At LAX, spokeswoman Nancy Suey Castles said the airport was negotiating with BAGS and hoped to add the service by fall at hotels and other sites.
At the Venetian resort in Las Vegas, guests flying on Southwest can grab a few more hours at the casino by checking luggage and getting boarding passes there for McCarran International Airport.
That 2-month-old service, costing $20 per person, is run by a BAGS competitor, Bags to Go Enterprises, based in Las Vegas.
Remote baggage check-in to McCarran is expected to be available soon through America West and the Luxor resort as part of a yearlong pilot program, said Randall Walker, the airport’s director.
Elsewhere, Bags to Go works with several cruise lines and airlines.
For more information on Bags to Go, call (702) 261-7700 or visit www.baggagecheckin.com. For more information on BAGS, call (407) 447-5547 or visit www.airportbags.com.