What to Expect at the Airport

How to use airport self-service Bag Drop

We look into the Airport's self-service bag drop facility - with tips on how to enter luggage into the automated baggage handling system.

Airport Main Terminal

1. What is airport self-service Bag Drop?

Airport Bag Drop is a convenient and easy-to-use service; used by travellers to process luggage into the airport's automated baggage handling system.

Traditionally, hold baggage would be processed by airline or airport staff during passenger flight check-in. However, with the increased use of online and self-service check-in services, the self-service Bag Drop has become an essential part of the check-in process.

Airport Bag Drop is used after you have checked in for your flight - using an automated flight check-in facility. Bag Drop provides a quick and efficient way of processing your hold luggage through to the cargo hold of the aircraft (you claim your bags back at your arrival airport). The automated bag drop service provides a faster and more independent passenger experience (especially when travelling through a busy airport system).

  • Touch-screen guides provide step-by-step instructions on where to place your bags, when to scan your boarding pass and how to print and attach bag tags to complete the baggage check-in process.
  • Using Bag Drop is a convenient way to reduce the time spent queueing at traditional airport check-in desks.
  • Usually, all you need is a boarding pass to access Bag Drop.

2. Tips on how to use self-service Bag Drop:

First, check in for your flight, print and download your boarding pass before leaving home, or use the airport self-service check-in kiosks. Now head straight to the Bag Drop area to check in your bags.

At the Bag Drop desk, place your bag on the baggage conveyor belt. The display will prompt you to scan your boarding pass - follow the on-screen instructions to print your bag tags. Attach the tag to your bag, then scan the tag with the hand-held scanner. Your bag will now automatically enter the airport's baggage handling system, and you will be issued a tag receipt. Keep your bag tag receipts safe in case there is a problem when collecting your bags on arrival.

Bag tags automatically include coded information relating to flight connections, priority and heavy bag information etc. After the bag drop process, proceed through to the passenger security area.

  • Depending on the Bag Drop system, exact Bag Drop procedures may vary slightly from airport to airport; some airports will have a separate area for printing and attaching bag tags before moving onto the Bag Drop desk. An airport assistant will usually be present in the bag drop area - should you need help using the service.
  • Before leaving home, check your baggage size and weight are within limits advised or selected at the time of booking - and as stated on your booking confirmation, your bags will be weighed and checked during the Bag Drop process.
  • Remember, check-in and bag drops can close 60 minutes before long-haul flight departures and 45 minutes before most short-haul flights - check bag drop opening times for your flight directly with the airline.
  • Aim to Clear Security Checks at least 60 minutes before your flight departure time and be at the boarding gate at least 25 minutes before your flight departs. Top Tip: Check the airport's media channels the day before travel for signs of delay in moving through the airport system; if necessary, arrive at the airport earlier than planned.

3. When does Bag Drop open and close?

For long-haul flights, bag drop usually opens around 3 hours before flight departure and closes 1 hour before. For short-haul flights, the open and close window is slightly less. Some airlines allow you to drop off your luggage the day before, which can be a time-saving advantage, especially when travelling during peak holiday dates.

Always check the exact Bag Drop 'open & close' times with your airline. The time slot for using the Bag Drop system will vary depending on your destination, airline and the airport or terminal you are flying from.

Remember, the bag drop check-in window may be shorter than you think, always check times with your airline and prepare to arrive at the airport earlier than planned.

When you have completed your Bag Drop, follow the signs for Departures and security screening.

4. Is self service bag drop and check-in the same?

No, self-service bag drop and flight check-in are two separate procedures. You use the airport's bag drop facility after you've checked in for your flight online or at the airport's electronic self-service check-in facility. Note! You will need your boarding pass to use the self-service bag drop facility - your boarding pass is issued during check-in.

Airport Walkway System