Virgin Australia has launched a pop-up check-in and baggage drop at a Sydney cruise terminal to relieve congestion at the airport.

The service could be expanded to provide passengers with the convenience of seat and baggage check-in away from the airport at locations such as conference venues and hotels.

Luggage is transported straight to the airport to cut waiting times there, allowing customers to head straight to their departure gate.

The service is similar to one in Hong Kong where passengers can check-in at a central train station before going to the airport. In Auckland mobile kiosks are used at peak times but only at the airport.


The company running the Australian service is investigating applying the off-site technology in New Zealand.

Off Airport Check-In Solutions (OACIS) uses Amadeus' cloud technology to work remotely with Virgin Australia's system to provide travellers with a check-in and baggage service that can be accessed from anywhere, according to customer demand.

There is a A$25 ($27) fee for guests to use the new check-in service during the pilot period but this would be reviewed, an airline spokeswoman said.

Travellers disembarking from Sydney's Circular Quay and White Bay cruise terminals will be the first to use the new check-in and baggage drop service, with Virgin Australia staff also available to help guests.

Group executive Virgin Australia Rob Sharp said more than 1.5 million passengers are transported to and from Sydney by cruise ship in peak season and many of those who disembark at Sydney's cruise terminals then fly to another destination.,

"This new service means tourists can check-in and drop their bags off once their cruise ship has docked, and can then enjoy the freedom to explore the city, bag-free, before taking off to their next destination.''

New South Wales Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, said the introduction of the new service is a win for Australia's $5.3 billion cruise industry, of which New South Wales holds 58 per cent of the market share.

"This year's cruise season is a record breaker for New South Wales with 350 cruise ships to visit Sydney and now the thousands of passengers disembarking a cruise ship each day at one of Sydney's cruise terminals can enjoy a streamlined travel experience with the new service.


Matthew Lee, chief executive of OACIS, said the cutting-edge technology would enable travellers to maximise their time on holidays or their business day and minimise their wait time at the airport.

The airline said it plans to explore future opportunities to implement the service at new locations around its network following the completion of the initial pilot programme.