< Reveal sidebar

Spirit Airlines Looks To Speed Up Check-in Process at Atlanta

Spirit Airbus A319 pushing back at LAX. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | James Dinsdale)

Spirit Airlines on Wednesday unveiled a new innovative way to speed up the check-in process at Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Recognized as the “Best Airport Innovation” of  2021 by APEX/IFSA Awards, the new technology looks to streamline the check-in process by utilizing Spirit’s automated self-bag drop and biometric photo-matching system. 

The biometric photo-matching solution was first developed and introduced by the Miramar, Fla., based carrier and its partner, Materna Intelligent Passenger Solutions (IPS) in 2019 at Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood International Airport. 

The system removes one point of contact at the airport through the use of a high-resolution 3D camera that connects to the Customs and Border Protection Traveler Verification System. The image from the gate is then matched against images from the CBP’s database. After the system has made the match, the gate will allow the passenger to board the flight, and they will also be marked as boarded in Spirit’s systems.

Spirit has taken the biometric photo-matching system one step further by combining it with an automated self-bag drop system. The self-bag drop removes a point of contact as customers are now able to check-in their luggage directly, no longer having to work with an agent.

More specifically, the solution will eliminate having to hand your government-issued identification card to an agent while checking in baggage by use of a biometric photo-matching system that compares a scan of government-issued identification with a photo of the guest for verification when dropping off the bags. The system utilizes software capable of analyzing key physical features on more than 50,000 forms of ID from nearly 200 countries. The software confirms the authenticity of an ID and rejects fraudulent documents as guests check their baggage.

Currently, this system is also operating at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW), and will be fully operational at ATL following an initial testing period at ATL with both manual ID check and biometric opt-in.

Prior to the agreement of the Spirit and Frontier Airlines merger. Spirit was checking an annual daily average of 1,000 bags at their Atlanta location. Through the use of the integrated self-drop baggage and biometric systems, the average processing time is dropped to 70 seconds per guest, a reduction of 30 percent. 

How the Process Works

Customers begin by going to the Spirit’s respective kiosk area. From here, they will check in with the kiosk, tag their own luggage, and proceed to self-bag drops. Once at the self-bag drop, guests will scan their boarding pass and are then advised of the biometric option. They are given the choice to opt-in or opt-out of the self-bag drop. If a guest chooses to opt-out, they will proceed to agent-assisted service.

If they choose the “opt-in” option, they are then given instructions to scan their ID. The system will compare the ID photo with a facial scan captured by the onboard camera, and compare this data with the guest’s reservation details. From here, the system will either reject or accept the collected information. A successful match allows the customer to continue with the process by instructing them to place their bags on the conveyor belt. The unit will scan the bag and weigh it, and then it can accept payment for any additional services. From there, the guest may continue to TSA.

As Spirit continues to incorporate these units throughout its network, the quicker their guest’s check-in process will become. Spirit hopes the streamlined process will create satisfaction amongst its customers through ease and reliability of the system, ultimately fostering a better overall experience with the carrier. 


Chase Hagl


  • Chase Hagl

    Chase Hagl grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho. His love and passion for Aviation landed him in Orem, Utah where he obtained a B.S. in Aviation Management with a minor in Business Management from Utah Valley University. Chase currently works as a flight attendant in Charleston, SC and is also the primary Inflight ASAP ERC representative for startup airline, Breeze Airways. His experience in the aviation industry spans back four years, working in areas including agriculture application, customer service, maintenance, and flight ops. In his free time, Chase enjoys road biking, astronomy, and flying.

    View all posts

Subscribe to AirlineGeeks' Daily Check-In

Receive a daily dose of the airline industry's top stories along with market insights right in your inbox.

Related Stories

How Do Low-Cost Airlines Make Tickets So Cheap?

The likes of Ryanair, easyJet, and Southwest are some of the most successful airlines in history, with the former consistently…

A Look at the Qatar Airways Stopover Program

Given that the majority of passengers traveling on the big Middle Eastern airlines are connecting, these airlines offer stopover packages…

The Large Air Carrier That Few Know Exists

The concept of an “airline” is a familiar one: a single company operates specific aircraft to specific places, either regularly…