Not interesting in schlepping your checked bags from baggage claim to the hotel or home? American Airlines has a new service which can help with that.
Passengers flying within the USA (and from pre-clearance stations to US destinations) can now pay to skip waiting for the bags to come out on the belt and simply head on to wherever they are going. The bags will be collected by a delivery service and dropped off directly at a home, hotel or business address up to 40 miles from the airport within four hours of arrival. No guarantees that the bags will actually be on the scheduled flights, of course. And if they aren’t the company will even handle filing the claim for you and getting the airline set up to manage the delivery once the bags do show up.
AA and BAGS VIP have arranged to have checked bags flagged in the system so they are delivered to the courier rather than baggage claim and then the courier handles the last mile. Bags sent to a residence have time limits (no calls/deliveries after 11pm) and those sent to a business require a signature. Still, if you’re not too keen on personally collecting the bags when you arrive but have to check them this can be reasonably convenient.
The delivery radius is limited to 40 miles at the flat rate and up to 100 miles with an additional per-mile fee paid. And everyone on the same PNR can have their bags included in a single order. So families traveling together basically get a volume discount, up to 10 bags total. More than 200 airports are currently eligible for the service as of August 6, 2012.
As of today the service must be purchased at least two hours in advance of travel and it can only be purchased online, not at the airport or through the AA reservations centers. Because it is a 3rd-party service passengers are not able to redeem AA travel vouchers or gift certificates for the service.
Yes, this is just another ancillary fee option being added to the travel experience. But this is definitely a new product, not just a fee for something which used to be included. And this one might actually represent a real value-add. I’m not so convinced that it makes sense for me, but I also doubt I’m the target market. Would you use this? Not hanging out at baggage claim or schlepping bags on the rental car shuttle or train into town could be quite nice.
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