Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Pop-Up Check-In Stands Aim to Consign Airport Hassles to History

  • Amadeus technology lets groups drop bags at hotels, schools
  • Virgin Australia is deploying system at Sydney cruise terminal

Airline passengers will be able to avoid the pre-flight ritual of lugging heavy bags to the airport and around the departure terminal as the world’s first pop-up check-in system enters service.

Devised by Amadeus IT Group SA, the technology will facilitate check-in for groups of travelers at hotels, schools, conference centers and sports stadiums, the world’s biggest flight-bookings provider said in a statement Tuesday. Bags are taken onward to the airport by truck for the usual security screening.

Virgin Australia Holdings Ltd. will pioneer the service after a successful trial at Sydney’s main cruise terminal, where it allows passengers to enjoy the time before their flight unencumbered by luggage, according to local logistics specialist OACIS, which has partnered with Amadeus.

The system, which utilizes cloud-based technology to remotely access an airline’s passenger-processing system, is likely to rolled out across Virgin airports in Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 to 18 months.

One obvious candidate for expanding the service is Miami, the world’s busiest port for cruise-ship departures, OACIS Chief Executive Officer Matt Lee said in a phone interview. “They’re keen on seeing how we go down here in Australia,” Lee said. “The challenge for us will be just the pace at which we can move here, get established, and then consider where else we’d like to go.”

The beauty of the system, the executive said, is that it could be deployed almost anywhere, given its simplicity and lack of permanent facilities. “We could be there from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. and then just close shop and go. We’ve got that flexibility.”

The U.K. government’s current consultation on aviation, launched in July, will explore the scope for alleviating airport pinch points through an expansion of luggage portering and in-town check-in. It cited the example of the Hong Kong Airport Express, which lets travelers drop luggage at the station two days before flying and collect it at journey’s end.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.