Spirit introduces self-service bag check at New York LaGuardia

Jan 14, 2020

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

You may have to deal with fewer people during the check-in process the next time you fly Spirit Airlines from New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

On Tuesday, the ultra-low cost carrier started offering passengers departing from LGA the choice of tagging their own checked baggage and personally dropping it on the conveyor.

The airline touted the self-service bag drop as making the check-in process more efficient and shortening the amount of time passengers have to spend in line to see a customer-service agent.

(Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy)

“Historically our queues have been heavy,” Mike Byrom, Spirit’s vice president of airport services told TPG at a media event about the new machines. “This is our investment to expedite that.”

Sign up for the free daily TPG newsletter for more airline news.

Spirit’s self-service bag check at LaGuardia happens in two steps. First, customers weigh their luggage at a kiosk, which then prints out a tag for them to affix.

(Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy)


(Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy)

Then, after a quick manual check of their boarding passes and IDs, passengers go to another machine to get their bag scanned and brought into the checked luggage system. They can also pay any overweight fees directly through the machines.

(Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy)

Spirit already has self-service bag check in Las Vegas, in partnership with the airport. But the system there uses hardware and software from another supplier, so passengers self-checking bags at LAS still must see an agent in order to pay any fees.

LaGuardia is the first airport where Spirit is deploying self-check bag machines solely through its own investments.

Employees remain available at LGA to assist any passengers who have difficulties tagging or scanning their bags properly.

Airline officials emphasized that no employees in New York would lose their jobs as a result of the machines.

Throughout 2020 and 2021, the airline will install the machines at some of its other highest-traffic bases, with Spirit officials mentioning Baltimore/Washington, Chicago, Detroit and Fort Lauderdale as other airports that could get self-service bag drop. As the machines become more common, the airline will determine which smaller stations should get the technology.

(Photo by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy)

Overall, passengers seemed pleased with the new process, and airline executives said it already seems to be moving things along more efficiently at the airport. One passenger gave a thumbs up and said he thought the self-bag check was good.

Not everyone had such a positive view, though. Another passenger said she didn’t like having to check her own bag, implying that it’s a service the airline should still provide for its customers. But, as Spirit officials pointed out, a traditional full-service bag check counter will remain in operation at LGA, too.

All photos by Zach Wichter/The Points Guy.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 60,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.