Are you sick and tired of standing in seemingly endless lines at the airport as you wait to check-in your luggage?  British Airways announced today that it’s made life a bit easier with the addition of 72 hosted self-drop baggage machines at Heathrow’s Terminal 5. It’s the largest ever number of hosted bag-drop kiosks at its London Heathrow hub. The move is part of the airline’s £6.5 billion investment to enhance customer experience.

Millions use bag check-in services

Over the years, airlines have been looking for ways to make check-in less cumbersome, saving you time and them money. British Airways reports more than 3.5 million customers have used the new technology to date. After positive customer feedback, the airline decided to increase the number of machines. The bag drops cut down the time people have to stand in line. It’s all about making the trek through the airport a bit quicker.

“Removing the ‘desk’ as a physical barrier between customers and our agents allows us to offer the more personalised service that British Airways prides itself on,” said Yannick Bernaeu, head of Customer Experience for BA at Terminal 5. “Hosted bag-drops are a great combination of automation and traditional customer service. The introduction of automation across the terminal has meant that our customers avoid queues and enjoy a faster, smoother journey through the airport.”

British Airways says it is also giving its customer service agents iPads “with specialized apps to enable the first representative a customer encounters to solve their issue or problem.”

Two decades of technology

Self-service kiosks are nothing new. SITA introduced them more than 20 years ago, changing the departure experience for millions. In late 2017, Hamburg Airport launched its self bag drop kiosks in Terminal 1, and Air France, KLM and Easy Jet jumped on the bandwagon. Other airports and airlines have followed suit.

With so many travellers printing out their boarding passes in advance, the chance to save time on bag drop is a godsend. Not everyone is a fan, though, as I discovered on a frequent trip to Norway. An older couple struggled with the instructions and tried to figure out how to attach the baggage tags. Luckily, help was just a few feet away, and  they certainly seemed to appreciate the opportunity to miss the long check-in lines.