|by Sean O'Neill||United Kingdom, London, Airfares & Flying, Airport Check-in, Innovations||13|
One of Budget Travel's favorite flight innovations is lettting passengers check their bags downtown—before they get to the airport.
In many capital cities, travelers can drop checked luggage at bus or train stations and forget about it until they land at their destinations. Many passengers can check bags at Vienna's Wien Mitte station, Moscow's Kievsky Station, and Hong Kong Station.
Since Wednesday, London's Paddington train station offers an international check-in zone for Heathrow airport. Go halfway down platforms 6 and 7 and you'll find kiosks you can use to print out your boarding pass and drop your bags off.
To start, participating airlines include Delta Air Lines, Finnair, Iberia, and United Airlines. (For more info, visit HeathrowExpress.com.)
Best of all, you can check-in 24 hours in advance, so if you want to schedule a long layover in London, you now have added flexibility. Have an unexpected delay? Flat screens project live feeds of Heathrow's flight schedule.
America is lagging behind the world in this innovation, with no city currently offering the service. Las Vegas hopes to be the first. In the U.S., the best advance luggage-check option is at Walt Disney World: Guests staying at Disney lodging can check bags at their hotel before hopping on the free Magical Express ride to the Orlando airport.
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