Alaska Airlines is rolling out electronic bag tags in an effort to speed up the airport check-in process for customers, the company said earlier this week.
The new option, which Alaska is billing as the first of its kind for a US airline, will allow customers to skip the step of printing baggage tags when checking in at an airport. Customers will instead be able to activate the electronic bag tags via the Alaska Airlines mobile app up to 24 hours before a flight. After arriving at the airport, the customer simply touches their phone to the tag to display their flight information.
“This technology allows our guests to tag their own bags in just seconds and makes the entire check-in process almost all off-airport,” Charu Jain, senior vice president of merchandising and innovation at Alaska, said in a statement. The company expects it will cut time spent dropping off luggage by nearly 40% and also free up employees to deal with other issues at the airport.
The availability will be limited to start. These programmable devices will be launched in phases, beginning with the San Jose International Airport in California. Alaska Airlines also rolled out a self-bag drop system in March at the San Jose airport, which will work with the electronic tags to make the baggage check-in experience as hands off as possible.
The electronic tag option comes as airlines around the country face big lines and major delays thanks to pandemic-era travel highs, staff shortages and bad weather. US airlines have canceled more than 100,000 flights this year, with 30,000 cancellations just since Memorial Day weekend, according to data from flight tracking site FlightAware.
The airline said 2,500 Alaska frequent fliers will get to use the technology first, starting in late 2022. The devices will then be made available to Mileage Plan members for purchase in early 2023.
Other airlines around the world have also started offering the option to digitize the baggage process. Companies such as BagTag, One Bag Tag and eTag allow customers to use electronic tags on several European and Asian airlines
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