Hong Kong’s In-town Baggage Check-in

  1. Technology (http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2014/08/every-city-needs-hong-kongs-brilliant-baggage-check-system/378826/)

This technology allows travelers to check in at the Central Hong Kong or Kowloon station, between 24 hours and 90 minutes before their flight. With either a single ticket for the Airport Express or using their existing Octopus card (daily electronic contactless payment card for commuting around HK) travelers can access the check-in area.

The process is similar to that at a typical airport check-in; At the airline desk, travelers collect their boarding card and deposit any luggage. The check-in agent should also provide information about the last Airport Express train for them to connect with their flight at the airport. Once at the airport travelers can proceed straight to security and immigration.

  1. Sustainability Problem

This check-in baggage service helps reduce the trouble of getting from the city center to the airport, located 40km away. The usual options travelers can use to commute to the airport include going by car and traveling by train (e.g. Airport Express).
Often with the burden of multiple pieces of luggage, travelers with the means might choose the convenience of going by car. This comes with its own problems of traffic and high cab fares or parking fees.
The alternative of taking public transportation can be a daunting task, especially when certain stations are crowded or not equipped with escalators or elevators, and luggage is bulky and heavy. For some travelers, this task may be physically impossible, leaving no other option but to pay for private transportation.

As such, the in-town check-in service provides travelers with an attractive and flexible option to take public transportation once they have deposited the main burden of the journey at a convenient location, well connected within the city center. This can help reduce the number of individual car journeys and in turn hopefully ease the traffic as well as the associated greenhouse gas emissions.

  1. Stakeholders

  • Local Government
  • Transport planners and operators
  • Airlines operators
  • Commuters
  1. Implementation Process

The implementation of this technology requires the partnership between individual airline operators, local planners and the transport authority. To connect the new infrastructure with existing public transportation lines, this must be led by the public sector. At the same time, the technology’s success is also dependent on the private airlines to man the actual operation and logistical coordination between baggage checked in the city center, ensuring that it reaches the airport and gets on the correct out-bound flight. In order to ensure that the system is well-utilized, they must maintain a strict standard. Given the high upfront costs of installing the infrastructure, they must make sure that travelers feel secure and trust that their bags will be there when they arrive in their final destination.


About Travel, In Town Check in at Hong Kong Station and Instructions: http://gohongkong.about.com/od/hongkongairpor1/a/intown_checkin.htm

MTR, Services and Facilities: http://www.mtr.com.hk/en/customer/services/complom_checkin.html


3 thoughts on “Hong Kong’s In-town Baggage Check-in

  1. Great post! I think this is a small step towards decreasing China’s CO2 emissions, which right now is estimated to be emitting between 9.3-9.5 billion metric tons/year.


  2. I think this is a great system to implement in cities such as Hong Kong, Singapore, or New York City, with a current, efficient public transport infrastructure that this new technology could be integrated with. Implementing the system will definitely require great coordination from multiple actors, from the airlines themselves, and the local government and transportation agencies, who will need to effectively work together to gain the customer’s trust in transporting their baggages to their final destinations. However, a system such as this might be a challenge to implement in places where the public transit infrastructure is still lagging – as it might incur a higher cost and make the process more complicated, rather than making it more efficient.


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