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TPA to roll out new express curbsides for passengers without checked bags

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Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 07:38:24-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A faster way for some passengers to get in and out of Tampa International Airport will make its debut Tuesday morning, with the airport’s first-in-the-country express curbside service.

It’s a streamlined process through the new Blue Express Curbsides, dedicated exclusively for passengers without checked bags. Blue Express Curbsides open to passengers on Tuesday, Nov. 16 at 2 a.m.

The new curbsides are on the airport’s Blue Side and will be available to passengers flying on American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Copa Airlines, Cayman Airways, and Swift Air.

“We were the first airport in the world to have people movers take people out to another building to catch their plane, and now we’re the first airport in the United States to have express curbs to get customers quickly out to their flight or back from their flight,” said Joe Lopano, the CEO of Tampa International Airport.

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The new Blue Express Curbsides mean some passengers will face an additional decision when driving into the airport. People dropping off passengers on the Blue Side will need to choose between the Express Curbside lanes if they’re not checking a bag or the standard, full-service curbside lanes. Passengers will then take the elevator, escalator, or stairs up one level to the transfer level of the main terminal.

Drivers picking up travelers without a checked bag will choose the Express Pick-up Curbside lanes at Blue Arrivals.

“As travelers navigate this new amenity, they’ll see new signage throughout helping them to be directed here to the express curbs,” said Lopano. “We’ve also worked with ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft, so that the riders will be directed to the proper curbside depending on whether they have checked bags or just carry-on bags.”

Lopano explained that the innovative amenity allows passengers to bypass ticketing or baggage claim levels and the congestion that comes with it.

“It really envisions the change in what customers are doing now because people don’t really check baggage as much as they used to. A lot of folks today travel with just one carry-on bag, and they have their boarding pass on their phone,” said Lopano. “They can just drop off at these express curbs and go directly up to their transfer level and out to their airplane.”

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Ahead of the holidays, passengers are welcoming the new feature with open arms, like Marvin McGuire, who said he flies out of TPA almost every week.

“It just makes the whole process quicker and easier and just cleaner, so it’s going to be really nice to avoid all of that,” said McGuire.

Looking ahead, TPA said eight additional express curbsides will also be added to the airport’s Red Side, which is expected to be complete in early 2025.