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New program at Tampa International allows you to check in at rental car return

Posted at 4:09 PM, May 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-22 18:26:43-04

TAMPA — Hassles of traveling home can put memories of family trips on the back burner for Sarah Deady, who was visiting St. Pete from Connecticut.

But now there's a new program at Tampa International Airport.

It is in the remote baggage section. When you return your rental car you there are kiosks where you can print out a boarding pass and also check in your bags. 

"It was so easy, piece of cake. This experience was excellent!" exclaimed Deady. "I got a message from my sister because she came through last night and she did this for the first time and she said oh boy wait until you see it!"

Danielle Karpiej who was traveling with Deady said,  "We just typed in our confirmation number and then our names came up for our boarding passes. It was so fast and convenient."

This is also the first of a kind idea in the nation.

"It was an initiative from our CEO," said Lloyd Tillman the Director of Operations for the airport.

Tillman said it's only a couple months in, and the process is exceeding expectations.

"We forecasted about 800 bags a day but it's at least 1,100," said Tillman. 

And it could be as high as 2,500. That's just with three airlines participating: American, Delta and Southwest.

"You didn't have to wait in line and it moved faster," said Karpiej.

Considering close to 50,000 bags make it's way through this airport a day. The process eases congestion for everyone not just those returning rental cars.

Tillman said it's only getting better. More airlines are expected on board and the concept is gaining traction with other cities wanting to mimic the idea

"Oh absolutely! Why not!" said Deady.

And an added bonus: there are more jobs and there's staff on hand to help passengers. So far, the program has created close to 50 jobs and there will be more positions soon according to Tillman.