Virgin Australia successfully trials mobile luggage check-in system

Andrew Munro 20 September 2017

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Say goodbye to your luggage in a good way.

On 19 September, Virgin Australia successfully wrapped up its trials of the OACIS (Off Airport Check In Solutions) pop-up luggage terminals. The trials took place at Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal, letting disembarking cruise passengers check-in their luggage at the harbour, to collect it on the other side of their upcoming flights.

For most of them, it was probably more than just a time-saver, and meant they wouldn't need to haul their luggage around Sydney all day.

"The Virgin trial was hugely successful on a number of fronts," said OACIS chief executive Matt Lee. "The feedback from customers was entirely positive, with a net promoter score of 95 per cent, 100 per cent baggage reconciliation, zero security incidents and, on average, customers had six hours in which to explore the city,"

How it works

It's as straightforward as you might expect.

  • You check in at the OACIS counter. Drop off your bags here. This might be a place near the airport, a cruise line port or anywhere else the airline decides it wants to go.
  • OACIS checks the bags in. It uses cloud-based technology to remotely integrate with the airline check-in systems, meaning it can go anywhere you can bring a laptop and find Wi-Fi. The technology is largely provided by another OACIS partner, Amadeus.
  • OACIS takes bags to the airport. And they're loaded on the plane.

You'll likely see the system rolled out across Virgin Australia airports in Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 to 18 months, and beyond if other airlines pick it up.

Travellers tend to spend a lot of time hanging around and shopping in airports, but when unencumbered by luggage they might start heading further afield and spending more time in each place they visit.

OACIS' customer base is also likely to expand beyond airlines, as each check-in counter becomes a sure-fire hub for overseas visitors who have a day in a new city before their flights. Restaurants, tourist attractions and anywhere else that wants more foot traffic has reason to get involved so these mobile check-ins could start popping up around the world quickly, in Australia and beyond.

"We are in discussions with a number of other airlines currently, both local and international," said Lee.

In the next year, you might start getting used to seeing OACIS counters in cities all around the world. Someday they might even come to you.

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