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Disney Cruise Line Discuss Disney Cruise Line to offer airline check-in service in the Miscellaneous Disney forums; Disney Cruise Line to offer airline check-in service The Disney Cruise Line service is modeled after Disney's Magical Express. Jason Garcia Sentinel Staff Writer October 3, 2007 Disney Cruise Line ...
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    Disney Cruise Line to offer airline check-in service

    Disney Cruise Line to offer airline check-in service
    The Disney Cruise Line service is modeled after Disney's Magical Express.
    Jason Garcia

    Sentinel Staff Writer

    October 3, 2007

    Disney Cruise Line said Tuesday that it will launch an airline check-in service in which departing passengers can drop off luggage and obtain airplane boarding passes before they step off their ship.

    The service is modeled after an airline check-in option Disney already offers as part of Disney's Magical Express, the popular airport shuttle for guests at Walt Disney World hotels.

    Disney began testing a limited version of the concept this past summer aboard one of its two ships, the Disney Wonder, and the cruise line expanded it to the Disney Magic last month when it returned to Port Canaveral after a summer in Europe.

    The program should be fully running by the end of the year, Disney spokeswoman Alison Mahoney said.

    Arriving cruise passengers have long been able to have their luggage shipped ahead of them from Orlando International Airport to Port Canaveral and Disney's waiting ships. But setting up a similar option for departing passengers is more complicated.

    That's because Disney and the company it contracts with to run the check-in service, Orlando-based Bags Inc., have to mesh reservation systems with individual airlines. They also must work out logistics with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, because the cruise ships travel to Caribbean countries during their voyages.

    Craig Mateer, Bags' president, called the technology involved "stunning."

    "What you're able to do is, through a satellite system, check in passengers on the ship while they're at sea," he said.

    A spokesman for Carnival Corp., the world's largest cruise-ship operator, said it is trying out a similar service at Canaveral, though it charges passengers a fee. A spokesman for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines said it offers passengers a more-limited version of the baggage check.

    As with Magical Express, Disney's airline check-in aboard the cruise ships is available only to domestic travelers flying on participating airlines.

    Disney Cruise Line said it has signed up seven carriers so far, all of which already participate in Magical Express and which together carry about half of all travelers at Orlando International. They include AirTran Airways, Delta Air Lines and American Airlines.

    Two carriers that allow their passengers to use Magical Express' check-in option -- JetBlue Airways and US Airways -- are not yet on board with the cruise line. A spokeswoman for JetBlue said it will join before the end of the month, and US Airways is expected to do so soon after that.

    Southwest Airlines, the busiest carrier at OIA with 21 percent of the traffic, does not yet participate in either service. The airline has said it intends to join Magical Express by early 2008.

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