Airlines and hotels are coming up with new ways to make travel easier for customers, from kiosks that issue hotel keys at the airport to services designed to eliminate the need to carry any luggage to or from the airport.
Hawaiian Airlines' new service sends a uniformed driver to a passenger's hotel to pick up luggage and gives them boarding passes and baggage claim tickets, the airline said Thursday. Once at the airport, passengers may bypass check-in and go straight to the gate.
If they're flying to Los Angeles, they could even have their luggage delivered directly to a home or office.
"Imagine, no more lugging bags to the airport and waiting in line when you get there," said Blaine Miyasato, vice president of customer services for Hawaiian.
Passengers with reservations at the Hilton Hawaiian Village arriving at the Honolulu airport also soon will be able to check in to their rooms and obtain a card key to their room while waiting for their luggage in baggage claim.
Hilton on Wednesday unveiled its four self-serve kiosks in the baggage claim area. The hotel said it is also installing three in the hotel's lobby.
Avoiding check-in lines
Hawaiian's door-to-door baggage service in partnership with BaggageDirect.com operates under guidelines from the federal Transportation Security Administration. BaggageDirect delivers the bags to airport security screening, eliminating the need for passengers to wait in long check-in lines.
"Our service is helping both TSA and Hawaiian to 'de-peak' the peak periods at the airport," said Steve Quackenbush, chief executive officer of Newport Beach, Calif.-based BaggageDirect.
The service currently is available exclusively for Hawaiian flights to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle from major hotels and resorts in Honolulu and Maui. It is also available for flights from Maui to San Diego. Door-to-door destination service to hotels, homes and offices currently is available only for Los Angeles, with plans to expand it to other cities served by Hawaiian, the airline said.
The service costs $30 for the first passenger and $15 each for additional passengers flying to the same destination. The charge would be twice that for door-to-door pickup and delivery from one city to another. Passengers must reserve the service at least 12 hours before their departure.
Hilton's check-in kiosks, which resemble the self-serve kiosks many airlines are using, are part of a trend toward luring high-spending travelers to Hawaii and taking care of their worries so they can spend more time, and money, in hotels, restaurants and other attractions, said Marsha Wienert, the state's tourism liaison.
"What Hilton has done puts them in a position to really offer client service," Wienert said. "My guess is a lot of the other hotels in the state will want to do similar things."
High-spending travelers have come to expect state-of-the-art amenities and easier travel, said Kathryn Potter, president of the American Hotel & Lodging Association.
"Hotels across the spectrum ... are trying to do everything they can to increase service for their guests and to offer amenities that will make guests choose their brand over another," Potter said.
Radisson Hotels & Resorts last week began allowing guests to check in using the Internet up to a week before arrival.