Thanks to the help of convenient ground shuttles, getting to the airport on time is the main concern of most travelers. Still, some travelers may wonder what happens once shuttle transportation services help travelers unload their bags and check them in with a curbside baggage check or inside the terminal. The journey that begins once bags are dropped off by airport shuttle services is a rather interesting and lengthy transit before luggage is finally inside the airplane.
At the Check-In Counter
Whether checking bags at the curb after drop off by shuttle transportation, or at the counter inside the terminal, the movement of all luggage begins at this point. Luggage is weighed, checked in, and labeled with a sticker that contains a barcode. This barcode registers the item to its owner and provides other essential information including point of origin, destination, flight numbers, and any connecting flights. After receiving the barcoded sticker, luggage is loaded onto a conveyor belt and sent on the first part of its journey.
Baggage Scanning Comes First
After bags are collected at the various check-in areas, the conveyor immediately passes them through a security scanning system that searches for questionable items. These machines are overseen by TSA agents who pull luggage aside for more detailed inspection if scanners alert them of anything questionable. Once they successfully pass through the scanners, baggage moves on to the next area, where it is sorted according to destination.
Sorting According to Destination
The journey after luggage is left curbside by airport shuttle services differs for each bag. Some luggage is loaded onto one plane and unloaded at the destination so that travelers waiting for ground shuttles receive their bags quickly and conveniently. Other bags need to move from one plane to another to be loaded onto a connecting flight. All of this information is available to airport personnel through the barcode sticker on each bag.
Luggage that passes through the security scanning area is then scanned again, either by machine or by hand, to determine where it needs to go. The barcode indicates which conveyor each piece of luggage must follow so it can be loaded onto the correct flight. At the end of the conveyor, bags are moved to the corresponding luggage carts that will transport them from the terminal to the tarmac. They will then be loaded onto the specified airplane. At the destination, bags are once again transported by cart from the plane to the terminal, then loaded onto the conveyor that brings them to the baggage carousel to be picked up.
Things can get a bit tricky when connecting flights are involved. There are multiple ways in which airlines handle these situations. Some airlines ship luggage on direct flights to the final destination. Others scan items coming off one flight to direct them to baggage carts or conveyors servicing the connecting flight. In any case, that barcode sticker knows where every bag is going and contains the critical information required to get it there.
Many travelers arriving at the airport via shuttle transportation may wonder what happens to their luggage after check-in and if it will arrive safely. While an occasional bag may be misdirected, the good news is that airports utilize complex systems to ensure that all bags make it to their rightful destinations without issue. Getting to the airport on time by using reliable airport shuttle services is all that any flyer should have to worry about. After departing their ground shuttle and checking bags in, travelers just need to relax and enjoy their flight!