United Airlines has launched a new service enabling passengers to self-check in their bag at selected US airports.

The Bag Drop Shortcut service works in conjunction with the United app, with customers checking in via the app and selecting the number of checked bags. 

They then place their bags on scales at the dedicated bag drop areas within the airport, and scan their boarding pass, before a member of United staff checks the customer’s ID and applies the bag tag.

The new service has initially launched at Chicago, New York Newark, Washington DC, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to roll it out to “dozens more airports” this year.

United says that the Bag Drop Shortcut allows passengers to check in their bag “in a minute or less on average”.

It was trialled at Newark in August 2021, with United stating that it was “instantly popular with customers”. The carrier added that by creating a dedicated area for those passengers only needing to drop their bags, it has been able to reduce wait times for all customers.

Commenting on the news Toby Enqvist, chief customer officer for United, said:

Our initial customer data proves this free, simple-to-use process saves our customers time and energy as they get ready for their flight. We’re thrilled to be the first to offer this service to all customers who check-in on our award-winning mobile app.”

The new technology follows the recent rollout of other services to United’s mobile app, including the ability to pre-order meals, snacks and drinks before their flight.

United launches pre-order food and drinks service for economy customers