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  • Writer's picturesarah krier

Outside the Airport: Solving the oversized luggage problem before it hits the gate

Updated: Jun 26, 2023



The Opportunity


Passengers on Southwest airlines often use oversized carry-on bags. If bags are too thick or too tall, they take up extra space in overhead bins, which can lead to bags being checked at the gate. This can frustrate passengers causing conflict at the gate and as few as 2 gate-checked bags can cause flight delays. Existing bag sizers are rarely used by passengers becasue they are inconveniently located at the airport, out of sight, and don’t intuitively indicate whether a bag fits or not.



The Process


To understand the problem, we observed user behavior with bag sizers across 9 airports and 5 airlines while also conducting interviews with both passengers and airline staff. With this information, we created a detailed journey map that highlighted a key user need: oversized carry on bags needed to be caught earlier in the process so passengers could course correct before arriveing at the airport.



The Mission


Engage passengers with helpful tools and education between the ticket purchase and check-in to encourage them to decrease the amount of carr y on luggage that makes it to the gate. The Solution


Our app-based solution provides a virtual sizing tool to passengers before they get to the airport, seamlessly integrated in the mobile check-in process. This gives passengers more control over what happens to their luggage and decreases the amount of oversized luggage from arriving at the gate altogether and helps eliminate the root of the problem.



Key Solution Components


• Create virtual sizer that uses familiar, user-friendly AI imaging technology

• Hosted natively in the mobile check-in experience

• Works in concert with the Southwest’s 2-free-check-bags policy and rewards

• Generates data and that can help better understand passenger luggage behavior and solve additional airport challenges

• Opens up new opportunities to communicate with and provide value to passengers via the mobile app and alerts


In collaboration with Matthew Meyer and Jess Chen.


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