LAX tests self-serve bag check-in for international travelers

Hugo Martín
The system involves kiosks that can be used by passengers on Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Norwegian and Scandinavian Airlines.  (Los Angeles International Airport)

Los Angeles International Airport is testing a new self-service bag checking system designed to let international travelers drop off their luggage and get to their plane faster.

The system, added this week at Aisles B and C of the ticketing lobby at the Tom Bradley International Terminal, involves several kiosks that can be used by passengers on Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa, Norwegian and Scandinavian airlines.

The kiosks print out luggage tags so that passengers can drop their bags off on a nearby conveyor belt without having to stop at a ticket counter.

Other airlines at LAX, including Alaska and United, already operate similar kiosks. Iberia Airlines launched a system several years ago to let passengers print out their luggage tags at home before dropping off the bags at LAX.

But the Bradley terminal kiosks are "common use," meaning they can be used for any of the five airlines participating in the test program. The kiosks will later be upgraded to serve passengers on 11 airlines, including Air France/KLM, British Airways and Korean Airlines.

A system of conveyor belts and digital readers takes the bags to the proper flight.

If bags are oversize or too heavy, staff will be on hand to direct passengers to a ticket counter to check the bags with an airline employee.

"By integrating state-of-the-art self-service bag-drop technology and improving each point of the passenger journey, we continue to transform LAX inside and out," LAX interim Chief Executive Justin Erbacci said in a statement.

During the four- to eight-month testing period, LAX officials will be monitoring the system for processing time, successful transactions and failures.

The kiosks may be upgraded in the future to use biometric technology, such as facial recognition, to identify passengers, confirm their reservations and print out a bag label.