Spirit goes self-service and biometric at Atlanta

Spirit Airlines has started using its biometric self bag drop system at Atlanta.

Passengers flying with the ultra low cost carrier (ULCC) can now use self-service for the entire check-in process.

They use kiosks to check-in and print bagtags, attach the tags to the bags and then use a self bag drop to put the bags into the airport baggage system.

The self bag drops capture the facial biometrics of the passenger and compare them with a scan of their government-issued identification.

Spirit already uses self bag drop at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW).

A Spirit Airlines passengers using self bag drop at Atlanta

How it works

  • Passengers check in at a kiosk, print their bag tags, attach them to their bags and proceed to the self-service bag drops (SBD)
  • At the SBD, passengers scan their boarding pass and are then told they can continue if they agree to their facial biometrics being used
  • If they choose not to use their biometrics, they have to go to an agent
  • If they choose to use their biometrics, they have to scan their ID on the SBD unit
  • The SBD unit takes a high resolution picture of the passenger, compares that picture with the one in the scanned ID along with comparing identification information with the passenger’s reservation details
  • If the matches are OK, passengers can place their bags on the belt, it scans and weighs the bags and takes payment for any additional optional services
  • Finally the bags can go to the airport baggage system

Spirit says none of the data is transmitted to any government agency.

Spirit Airlines self bag drop at DFW

Time saver or staff saver

The airline says self bag drop with biometrics is already cutting time at the bag drop to 70 seconds.

It doesn’t say what the total time is for a passenger to check-in, print tags, attach them, take them to the bag drop, do the facial recognition check and inject the bag into the airport baggage system.

The self-bag drop system can analyse 50,000 forms of ID from nearly 200 countries that a passenger could potentially use when travelling in the United States.

Spirit passengers currently check-in about 1,000 bags a day at ATL.


The self bag drop kiosks come from German based Materna ips.

N.B. Image credit: Spirit Airlines

Internet links

Spirit Airlines (NK)

Materna ips