No one wants to spend more time than necessary waiting around in endless airport lines.

With congestion an issue at so many major U.S. airports, there’s first a line of honking cars waiting just to drop passengers off. Then there’s a small mob hoping to get a turn at an open check-in kiosk. After that, you wait your turn to tag and drop off your luggage. Then the real fun begins. You join the masses snaking through security checkpoints, chuck off your shoes, do a little twirl in the body scan, and, if everything goes according to plan, you line up one last time as you board the plane.

That’s a lot of standing around, but there’s a possibility you could skip at least one of those lines if you plan on checking bags.

How do Curbside Skycaps Work?

Though it may seem like some antiquated leftover from the pre-9-11 era, curbside skycap service still exists at many airports across the country. You may have seen other passengers dropping off bags curbside, but it’s not always so clear who can take advantage of this service and, most importantly, how much it costs.

The good news is that, in most cases, curbside service doesn’t cost extra, aside from tipping. Sky caps typically earn whatever happens to be the local minimum wage, and really do work for tips. They are not employees of the airline and are without union protections and other benefits. While tips range from $2 to $3 per bag, don’t be stingy here. If you’re a heavy packer and roll up with more than the usual two bags, and/or you have bags that you know are heavier than they really ought to be, tip generously.

And if that’s not incentive enough, know that sky caps are often much more lenient than the reps inside when it comes to baggage weight restrictions.

Sure, there may be a slight wait to drop bags curbside, but whatever it is will surely be minimal compared to whatever horrors await inside.

To keep things moving, it helps to have squared away bag fees online before arrival. That way, you just have to drop, tip, and go.

Again, for those traveling with more bags than you can stand to carry by yourself, it’s incredibly convenient to only have to shuffle your belongings a few feet from the trunk of a taxi to the curb.

Still, curbside check-in may not work for all travelers. Curbside service may not be open at the time of your flight, so check with your airline to verify the hours. And not all fees can be paid in cash, with many curbside counters accepting only credit and debit card payments.

Have a look below at curbside check-in costs and locations by carrier.

American Airlines Curbside Check-in

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: All major U.S. airports
  • Other services available: print boarding passes, pay baggage fees

Delta Air Lines Curbside Check-in

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: About 100 U.S. airports
  • Other services available: print boarding passes

Frontier Airlines Curbside Bag Drop

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: Denver, Las Vegas, and Washington National
  • Other services available: print boarding passes, pay baggage fees

JetBlue Curbside Check-in

  • Cost: $2 per bag, free at DCA, HPN
  • Location: Many of JetBlue’s U.S. airports
  • Other services available: print boarding pass, pay baggage fees

Southwest Curbside Check-in

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: All airports with the exception of smaller Texas markets
  • Other services available: print boarding pass

United Airlines Curbside Check-in

  • Cost: Free
  • Location: Most U.S. airports
  • Other services available: print boarding pass, pay baggage fees

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