American Airlines Suspends Curbside Check-in, Except At Two Airports

American Airlines has suspended curbside check-in at all of its airports worldwide, except for two: Maui and Miami. This change went into effect on Tuesday.

The airline acknowledges it as a cost-saving measure. Curbside check-in isn’t being widely used. At Maui, though, it doesn’t cost the airline anything. And in Miami it’s being performed by wholly-owned American Eagle carrier Envoy, though it’s unclear why they decided to keep it. It always did seem more popular with baggage-heavy Latin flights.

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.

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.

Ironically about the only time I ever needed curbside check-in is when US Airways management botched the reservation system integration with America West, online and kiosk check-in was down, and agents didn’t know how to use their 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.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. A while ago (2003?) I knew a guy who would park in the hourly parking. Then he would walk to the terminal to check his bags for himself and/or the family, walk back to the car, park in the economy lot and take the shuttle back to the terminal.

    That way he and his family didn’t have to carry luggage in a crowded shuttle bus and the hourly parking usually gave you 30 minutes of free parking.

    I usually don’t have much luggage unless I’m relocating to a new area.

    Way back (pre 9/11), the hourly lot in PHX was cheap (especially compared to major cities) and when I would fly United out of teminal 3 (it was the lesser used terminal, and didn’t have Swest/AWest) I would park in the hourly lot and literally walk across the street and check in and the whole process was usually 5 minutes or less. And the daily parking rate in the hourly lot was capped at something like $10-12 a day. It was a bargain and hassle free for a weekend trip.

    Curbside was rarely used except for ski trips and/or when inside was a mob scene.

  2. You could work at sky harbor in Phoenix. They have an illegal working airside and numerous refugees with airside clearance. It’s all smoke and mirrors. CBP allows illegals on airside sterile area of airport. What a joke. Your suppose to be able to do a 10 year fingerprint background. Refugees that have only been in the country 1 through 9 years getting security clearance.

  3. Curbside check in is a great way to save money on overweight or oversize luggage.

    $20 tip to curbside valet who will appreciate you because people like you help him make six figures vs. $100 airline oversize fee charged by a grumpy contractor behind the ticket counter making min wage at age 50.

  4. Are we supposed to tip at curbside check in?

    As a Canadian, I think this is US thing, I’ve never seen it here, and even SEA where the climate is cool to cold most of the time.

    I’ve noticed a tip jar at a curbside for Southwest, but I didn’t leave any tip because: I’ve already completed the check in online, I just needed to drop my bag which I brought it in all by myself, I didn’t make any requests, my bag wasn’t oversized and just 1 piece. Not leaving any tip at curbside, was it a big no no? If we should leave tip therr, then why we never see tip jars at check in inside the terminal?

  5. Maverick, tipping is the action of civilized people, so no, as a Canadian you are not required to do so. The typical tip is 1 to 2 dollars a piece for luggage. But again that’s only for civilized people. I’ve been doing this for all of my life but I had good parents who knew the importance of manners and consideration for people who do a valuable service for you. Keep your precious dollar or so and don’t give it to someone who could use it more.

  6. Tip culture is extremely debasing and racist. Service providers discriminate against Black and Asian patrons due to the stereotype these races tip less. However, if you choose to use curbside luggage check in at a US airport then a tip is expected, unfortunately.

  7. If I’m running late and have a rental car I need to return, I’ll use the curbside baggage check. Drive up, curbside check the bag while the rental car is running steps away (leave the trunk open, and the cops typically won’t hassle you).

    Makes sure your bag make the 60-45 minute cutoff. Then go return the rental car and make it back just in time to catch the flight. Also, don’t have to drag your bag on the rental shuttle, etc.

    It’s saved me from missing flights because of checked baggage a couple of times.

  8. My opinion is that if you want a good service and want to avoid the lines inside the airport your best opción is curb side it’s very simple you approach the counter we look at your I’d weigh your bags ask you some simple questions and if everything is good to go we check you in give you your boarding pass and you go straight true security on to your boarding gate and doesn’t take more then 5 to 8 minutes compare To making those big lines but like I said there are a lot of cheap ….. M out there that they rather go true all the trouble in making the lines to avoid giving a tip it’s not going to hurt your pockets if you give 5 bucks for showing some appreciation for helping you some time and let me tell you for those called passengers that think they know it all that they say all no I bought my ticket and that includes everything that I don’t have to tip that all I have to do is drop of my bag and that’s it nope wrong because when we get paid a minimum wage or a waiter salary and only work 4 or some times 6 hours a day do you really think that’s going to pay or mortgage rent are bills and if we have a car payments credit cards mmmm are you really that dumb mmmm that thank you good bless you or just walking away after using are service ain’t going to pay are bills if you use are service of course you need to tip and I don’t care what anybody says as simple as that you don’t want to tip well go in side and make those big as lines … that’s my saying about curb side checking

  9. Manny said you go TRUE security (twice). The word is THROUGH. Perhaps you’re not a native English speaker? Don’t be afraid to check your post for obvious spelling errors. It’s the polite thing to do for your fellow readers and takes less than a minute.

  10. Yes Tipping is Optional but Dragging your bag and waiting inside to drop your bag is also an Option. So yes Tipping a Sky Cap is a must if you are an experienced Traveler tou will do so. If not you just dont know what you missing. American Airlines knows the importance of Curbside Check-in hopefully they will bring it back.

  11. I’ve been a PHL skycap since 93. I miss it since the coronavirus took it from me. I agree with the man who said if you don’t want to tip go inside and wait. Would you go to a restaurant and stuff the waiter? Same idea! You don’t wanna tip order take out! I’ve come to understand many don’t know what to do when they travel. What I don’t think people realize is the wear and tear lifting bags all day. Be considerate,these guys are trying to help you.

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