Spirit Airlines deploys biometric bag drop at LAX

Already in use at LGA, ORD, DFW and ATL

Ultra low cost airline Spirit Airlines has started using biometric self bag drop at Los Angeles (LAX).

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

The airline says that its passengers at at LAX are seeing shorter check-in times thanks to the self bag drop with biometric photo-matching.

Spirit passengers currently check-in about 2,700 bags a day at LAX.

The airline says self bag drop with biometrics cuts the time at the bag drop to 70 seconds per passenger.

In addition to the self-bag drop functionality, Spirit’s machines are also equipped with a biometric photo-matching system that compares a scan of government-issued identification with a photo of the Guest for verification.

The screen shows passengers how to scan their ID

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.

Following an initial testing period at LAX with both manual ID check and biometric opt-in, the solution will eliminate the need to hand government-issued identification to an agent when checking baggage.

A passenger scans the boarding pass at the SBD unit

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 it with the one in the scanned ID along with comparing identification information in the passenger’s reservation
  • 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.

Like all self bag drops, the figures quoted by Spirit are only for the time spent at the self bag drop. It does not include all the other time involved, like the time to print and attach the tag(s), time to check-in, time to print the boarding pass.

Passenger check-in and print tags at a self-service kiosk then move to the self bag drop


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

Materna supplies the biometric self bag drop already in use by Spirit at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA)Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) and Atlanta (ATL).

N.B. Image credit: Spirit Airlines

Internet links

Spirit Airlines (NK)

Materna ips