A baggage carousel is a device, generally at an airport, that delivers checked luggage to the passengers at the baggage claim area at their final destination. Not all airports use these devices. Airports that do not have carousels generally deliver baggage by placing it on the floor or sliding it through an opening in a wall.
Bags are placed by the airline employees on some type of conveyor belt out of sight of the passengers.
In a single-level system, the belt will deliver bags into the terminal from an opening in the wall. The belt generally runs along the wall for a short distance and then turns into the terminal forming a long oval that allows many passengers to access the belt. The belt continues back to the loading area through a second opening in the wall.
In a multi-level system, the bags are generally loaded from above or below the carousel and then delivered onto a moving oval-shaped carousel. It is common for this type of system to have two delivery belts, increasing the speed with which bags can be delivered to the passenger level.
There is also a variety of carousel that is a combination of the two systems. These occur mainly in Europe. Bags are loaded from an upper level and end up on a revolving oval, as is normal. However, the very back portion of the oval, in this case, runs in and out of the wall, so it can be accessed by baggage handlers.
As a general rule, the following types of checked baggage are not placed on a baggage carousel:
These items are delivered in many ways including:
- Placing them on the floor
- Delivered through a special opening
- Picked up at the customer service office
- Placed in special racks (common in ski area destinations)
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- HowStuffWorks.com. "How Baggage Handling Works: page 8, Baggage Claim". Archived from the original on 14 June 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2008.