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Disney Cruise Line begins onboard airline check-in

SmarterTravel

[% 13509 | | Disney Cruise Line %] has just made it a little easier to leave its cruise ships. The company recently announced a new service that will let guests check in onboard for their flights home. That means no more lugging suitcases to and from a transfer bus or waiting in long lines at Orlando Airport.

To use this new service, you must be sailing on the Disney Magic or Disney Wonder and flying out of Orlando Airport on AirTran, Alaska Airlines, American, Continental, Delta, Northwest, or United/Ted. You’ll need to pick up registration forms at the airport or at the Walt Disney World Resort, and sign up for this service at your cruise check-in.

If you qualify, you will receive boarding passes in your stateroom the day prior to disembarkation. Your checked luggage will be delivered from the ship directly to your flight. Upon disembarkation, you won’t need to pick up your baggage—you’ll simply pass through customs, transfer to the airport, and head directly to airport security. You won’t have to wait in long airport check-in lines.

If this sounds like a great idea to you, know that Disney did not invent it. [% 14665 | | Celebrity %] and [% 15420 | | Royal Caribbean %] have provided a similar service for a few years. Celebrity offers the Onboard Check-in and Luggage Valet program for guests disembarking in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami, San Diego, San Juan, and Seattle, and Royal Caribbean offers it in San Juan and Seattle. Guests can pay a nominal fee to receive their boarding passes onboard and have their luggage shipped directly to the their aircraft.

Vancouver International Airport offers a similar program for cruise guests on Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess, and Royal Caribbean flying on Air Canada, Alaska, Delta, Horizon, Northwest, and United. Guests must be flying to the U.S. the day the cruise ends, and have purchased a cruise-line bus transfer from the ship to the airport. Eligible guests will receive their boarding passes onboard and not have to worry about getting their luggage to their plane.

Given that hassles with baggage transfer and long check-in lines at the airport quickly make a cruise vacation seem like a distant memory, I’d be surprised if more cruise lines don’t implement similar programs. They should consider it a gift to their loyal passengers, so they’ll end their cruise vacation on a more positive note.

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