Vancouver International Airport testing automated self-service bag drop

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Image: Vancouver Airport Authority

Another step in the air travel process for passengers taking off at Vancouver International Airport (YVR) could become an automated self-service.

Vancouver Airport Authority is currently in the process of testing a self-service bag drop machine that allows passengers to drop a checked bag by themselves. The machine scans and verifies the passenger information on the boarding pass and bag tag to ensure the bag is approved.

However, passenger information that does not match and bags that weigh more than the allowed threshold will be rejected. When all steps are successfully completed, the bag will be moved onto the airport’s baggage conveyor system so that it can be loaded onto an aircraft.

Only a handful of major airports, such as Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, Zurich Airport, and Hong Kong International Airport, have introduced self-service bag drop machines in their terminals.

The technology being tested at YVR’s Domestic Terminal over the next two months was developed in-house by the airport’s Innovative Travel Solutions department.

“Innovation and automation have proven to improve passenger flow at YVR,” Chris Gilliland, Manager of the Vancouver Airport Authority’s Innovative Travel Solutions, told Vancity Buzz.

“The bag drop is user friendly, fast and of course safe to use. Our goal at YVR is to continue to improve our own airport and make the travel experience here more efficient and enjoyable for our passengers.”

Seven years ago, Innovative Travel Solutions developed Automated Passport Control – a self-service kiosk for customs processes – in an effort to speed up processing times and delay the need to physically expand the footprint of YVR’s customs hall.

As of this spring, the so-called BorderXpress kiosks made by YVR are also found in the terminals of 23 other cities across North America. Nearly 800 units of the machines have been produced to date.

“We want to continue to build a reputation of trust and be a leader in our industry through our innovative approach to air travel.”

Currently, there is no timeline for when self-service bag drops could be introduced at YVR for regular daily operation. They are not expected to completely replace the human element of customer service.

Video of automated self-service bag drop machines at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol:

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Kenneth Chan Deputy Editor & Social Media Manager at Vancity Buzz. He covers stories pertaining to local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation, infrastructure, and anything else that makes a difference in the lives of Vancouverites. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]vancitybuzz.com
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