easyJet has become the first low-cost carrier (LCC) to partner with home bag drop service AirPortr in a move that will allow its customers flying from Gatwick Airport to have their luggage checked-in and collected from their doorstep.
Passengers can opt to have their bags collected from their home, hotel or office, as long as the address is within a certain catchment area. The next time they see their bags will be on the reclaim belt at their destination airport. The service is operated by AirPortr, which has existing partnerships in place with British Airways, American Airlines and Finnair.
easyJet offers two variations of the service. The premium product allows passengers to check-in a piece of luggage and choose a one-hour pick-up time slot at a price starting from £30. Alternatively, the £40 value product includes collection of up to four pieces of luggage within a three-hour window. Full details can be found on the dedicated easyJet/AirPortr microsite.
Speaking to FTE, Andrew Middleton, Director of Ancillary Revenue at easyJet, explained that the new service is part of the LCC’s strategy to “remove pain points from the customer journey”. “We think this will be a popular product for a wide range of our customers,” he said. “There are some really obvious, specific use cases such as people travelling with skis, people travelling with sports equipment like golf clubs, families, and people going away for weekend breaks.”
He described the service as potentially delivering a “holy trinity” of benefits. “We’re improving the customer experience, we’re delivering commercially for ourselves and for our partners, and if we can throw in some operational benefits as well then we’re delivering on that holy trinity,” he said. These operational benefits include potentially reducing the number of bags being processed at Gatwick Airport during peak periods.
Solving the baggage challenge
Like many LCCs, easyJet is often faced with the challenge posed by the number of carry-on bags outweighing the storage space available in the overhead lockers in the aircraft cabin. For any airline, having to tag carry-on bags and place them in the belly of the aircraft can cause delays and have a negative impact on the passenger experience. Although Middleton admitted there is no “magic bullet” solution, by offering more choice to passengers, easyJet is proving that it is actively tackling this issue.
Last year easyJet introduced its “Hands Free” product, which allows passengers to check in their hand luggage at the bag drop desk for just £4 per person. Following this, the airline’s hold luggage policy was updated, with the standard bag weight increased from 20kg to 23kg and a new 15kg allowance introduced. The new home check-in and baggage delivery service is “a further piece of this jigsaw”, Middleton said.
To help make customers aware of the new service, easyJet is initially planning to promote it during the booking process, via its mobile app and other digital channels, and through social media influencer activity.
While the service is now being offered to easyJet passengers for the first time, since 2016, AirPortr has collected over 69,000 bags, skis and bicycles, which have been checked-in and delivered to more than 320 destination airport baggage reclaims around the world. Paul Mewett, Executive Vice President, Business Development & Global Strategy, AirPortr, highlighted to FTE some of the knock-on effects of the home check-in service. A survey by the company found that more than 45% of its users have switched to public transport, which is a clear positive from an environmental standpoint. A similar percentage of its monthly users are repeat customers and the company has a 4.8 out of 5 rating on Feefo, all of which points to a high level of customer satisfaction.
easyJet and AirPortr will now be working closely together to ensure that the LCC’s own customers can make the most of this service during the busy summer season and beyond.