Joint venture partners Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic are launching 18 self-service counters for passengers to drop off their bags at Heathrow Terminal 3.

Self-service will be available for all the airlines’ passengers flying to the US and should allow bags to be dropped in under two minutes.

Customers must first check-in via a self-service channel. They then scan their mobile or printed boarding pass, place their bag on the conveyor belt, print and attach their own bag tag and send it for loading.

Bags are then accepted into the system and screened as normal.

Self-service bag drops are offered by other airlines, including Easyjet and Cathay Pacific at Gatwick, Qatar Airways at Hamad International, and British Airways at Heathrow T5.

“This new technology enables customers to breeze through the airport, while ensuring our team are still on hand to deliver personalised service and answer queries at all times,” said Hayley Parker, Vice President of Airports at Virgin Atlantic.

“The new machines are another way that Delta and Virgin Atlantic are working together to ease the journey through our London hub,” added Corneel Koster, Delta’s SVP Europe, Middle East, Africa and India.

“With a quick and easy bag-drop experience, customers can choose how they enjoy that extra time before they fly.”

The self-service units support Delta’s bag-tracking technology by issuing RFID chipped bag tags, which allow passengers to track their bags on the Delta app.

Last year Delta opened the world’s first end-to-end biometric terminal, allowing passengers to check-in, drop their bags, pass through security and board the plane using facial recognition.,