American Airlines now outsources curbside check-in at most airports where it’s available, and it’s no longer offered free (plus tips) where provided. Instead it’ll cost $3 per bag to use the service.
While people do increasingly use technology, prepay their bags, opt for touchless solutions, being able to drop bags at the curb is incredibly helpful for families with more bags than children, and students flying to school with a year’s worth of belongings – rather than dragging them into the terminal.
American Airlines now outsources curbside check-in to vendor Baggage Airlines Guest Services (Bags, Inc.). This is offered for domestic travel only. There is no curbside check-in offered for international. And the service now costs $3 per bag to check, apart from anything you may offer as a tip.
Bags, Inc. now provides curbside check-in at the following airports:
- Dallas – Fort Worth
- Fort Lauderdale
- Las Vegas
- Kansas City
- San Antonio
- San Diego
- Salt Lake City
- San Francisco
- Washington National
Miami continues to offer curbside check-in, where the service has been provided by American’s wholly-owned regional carrier Envoy (rather than by American Airlines itself), and in Maui where it doesn’t cost the airline anything to provide. Only Chicago O’Hare still has American Airlines Skycaps (and does not charge passengers a fee).
While internal documentation is clear that there’s no longer American Airlines curbside check-in at other airports, it’s still hard to fathom that no curbside check-in is offered at other domestic airports, including Phoenix, New York JFK, Los Angeles, or Charlotte. A spokesperson tells me that additional stations such as these will see outsourced curbside check-in in the future.
American says the new arrangement saves them money on “labor, training and equipment” while sharing revenue from the bag fee with Bags, Inc. But still having curbside available (versus eliminating the option entirely) “reduce[s] lines and reduce[s] pressure at American counters and kiosks.”
One of the early cuts that US Airways management made after taking over American was eliminating curbside check-in across 38 airports. There was a lot of pushback against this. Curbside check-in was suspended entirely at most airports as a cost-saving measure in July 2020.
Ironically about the only time I’ve ever needed curbside check-in was when US Airways management botched the reservation system integration with America West, online and kiosk check-in was down, and legacy US Airwaysgents didn’t know how to use the America West system. People working outside for tips sure did – and $5 got me a boarding pass rather than a 45 minute wait in the first class check-in line.