At the end of February, I went to Vienna and after taking an Express Train from the Airport I arrived at the Mitte Central Station. On my way out, I saw the baggage drop-off counters, which surprised me as I hadn’t noticed such service options before at the places where I travelled. I really liked that idea because as a passenger I would get a lot of advantages with that service:
- More convenience during the journey to the airport
- Less stress during the journey
- Easy usage of public transport to the airport
- Less waiting time at the airport before departure
Moreover, passengers usually spend a lot of time waiting. They might have to spend up to three hours between checking in and boarding the airplane. To reduce the so-called dwell time at airports and prevent congestion in the terminal, some airports have introduced off-airport baggage check-in programs.
But at the same time, off-airport baggage check-in would help to avoid many problems that face a growing number of airport operators – bottlenecks on the runways, delayed departures, long lines at security and check-in. The main advantages are:
- Operational advantage because peak loads can be reduced by early baggage collection
- Stimulation public transport usage and thereby creating a positive corporate image and increasing the catchment area
Japan Air Lines went even further by operating two different off-airport baggage services. The Departure Delivery is a service in which the baggage is picked up by a caddy at any home address in Japan and transferred to one of the 5 departure airports that JAL serves in Japan (Narita Airport, Tokyo International Airport, Kansai International Airport, Nagoya Airport, and Sapporo Airport). The fee for the services is between € 14 and € 16. The Arrival Delivery service is similar to the Departure Delivery systems but then in opposite direction. Passengers can have their bags delivered from the same five airports to their home address in Japan. Fees for this service are in the same range as for the Departure Delivery.
Several years ago, at Paddington station in London as well as in Vienna Mitte Central Station, passengers could use the full check-in facility and use the Heathrow Express as means of transport towards the airport. The process was the following: checked in baggage was transported underneath the designated platforms towards the load make-up area on the platform and loaded onto the train in containers.