Austrian Airlines Lets Customers Check Their Luggage On The Train

Austrian Airlines yesterday shared that from August 23rd, it will be piloting baggage drop-off directly on trains heading to Vienna Airport from Linz and Salzburg. This test will run until October 31st, 2021.

Austrian A320
With an AIRail, connection, passengers can enjoy several benefits such as catering vouchers and a guaranteed connection. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Smoother journeys

The flag carrier of Austria is partnering with Austrian rail outfit ÖBB on the AIRail baggage drop program. The pair are looking to make the transition from train to flight more seamless from the passenger.

With the launch, travelers can check-in their luggage during their train journey. Here, the bags will be tagged before being transported to the final destination. Therefore, passengers can head straight to their gate after arriving at the airport.

Austrian Airlines CEO Alexis von Hoensbroech is delighted with the launch of the testing. He highlighted that collaboration with the rail industry is an integral part of his company’s approach.

“Closer dovetailing with the railways is an important part of our strategy,” von Hoensbroech shared in a statement.

“We want to bring more AIRail passengers to our Vienna hub comfortably by train and then out into the world by plane.”

The check-ins are applicable on the services that leave Linz Hbf at 10:16 and 15:16 and the trains that leave Salzburg Hbf at 09:08 and 14:08. Photo: Austrian Airlines

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Industry motives

Just last month, British Airways announced that it also launched a new bag drop option for its passengers at London Heathrow. Travelers connecting to the airport via Heathrow Express can simplify their process with this service.

Altogether, airlines are keen to enhance contactless systems during the passenger journey. Touchless procedures have taken over airports over the last year since the rise of the global health crisis. Now, they are expanding even before customers reach the airport. Passengers can avoid queues and unnecessary contact with others at the airport with these measures.

Austrian Check-In
The entire check-in process has transformed in recent years. Photo: Austrian Airlines

Potential in rail

Airlines have been increasing their collaborations with rail companies across the board. Europe has a robust rail network, so carriers have been looking at ways to make the most of the resources.

For instance, this summer, Air France shared that it is adding seven new services to its Train + Air program alongside SNCF French Railways. Then, earlier this month, easyJet announced a partnership with German rail firm Deutsche Bahn (DB) to allow easier connections for passengers traveling through Berlin Brandenburg.

Even the United States has a strong rail network that is often underutilized. Perhaps airlines in the country could also look further into this factor in the coming years.

Overall, in the new age of travel with numerous requirements that passengers have to consider, services such as rail bag drop will help reduce the load. As Austrian’s leadership puts it, with the train baggage check-in, the carrier eliminates “a major disadvantage of a feeder train journey compared to a feeder flight.”

What are your thoughts about Austrian Airlines trialing baggage drop on the train? What do you make of the launch of this pilot? Let us know what you think of the initiative and its prospects in the comment section.