By Chase Hagl
Alaska Airlines Announces Launch of Electronic Bag Tag Program
On Wednesday Alaska Airlines announced the launch of their new electronic bag tag program – the first amongst U.S. carriers. The digital tags are designed to replace the current paper tags and will ultimately allow customers to get through the check-in process quicker.
The electronic bag tag will allow guests to skip the kiosk completely, as there is no need for a printable tag. Guests will be able to set up the electronic bag tag from the airline’s mobile app for their upcoming flight from the comfort of their own homes. Upon arrival at the airport, customers will drop their bags off at the self-bag drop and be off to security.
“This technology allows our guests to tag their own bags in just seconds and makes the entire check-in process almost all off-airport,” stated Charu Jain, senior vice president of merchandising and innovation at Alaska in a press release. “Not only will our electronic bag tags allow our guests to quickly drop off their luggage after they arrive at the airport, but the devices will also give our employees the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with guests who ask for assistance and reduce lines at our lobbies.”
Alaska Airlines predicts that the new tags will cut the baggage dropoff process up to 40 percent.
The Seattle-based carrier will initially introduce the tags at the San Jose International Airport in California. The bag tags will go hand-in-hand with their new self-bag drop system introduced in March to the SJC airport.
With the same intentions as the new high-tech bag tags, Alaskas’ self-bag drop incubators allow customers to bypass a part of the check-in process that is commonly known for significantly increasing check-in wait times. This is just another step in the airline’s attempt to augment the said process.
Set to launch later this year, the tags will be introduced in several phases. Phase one will include 2,500 tags that will be distributed to Alaska Airlines’ frequent fliers. Members of the carriers’ Mileage Plan will have the option to purchase the devices in early 2023.
Alaska will purchase the tags from the Dutch-based manufacturer, BagTag. BagTag currently provides many other carriers with similar products that include Austrian, China Southern, Dolomiti, Lufthansa, and Swiss.
“We are very proud to announce the first American carrier adopting our EBT solutions,” said BAGTAG Managing Director Jasper Quak. “Alaska Airlines’ relentless efforts to make their passenger journey a true 21st-century experience makes us very confident in a successful rollout among their guests.”
The tag selected by Alaska will be “battery-less”, never having to be recharged by its users. The devices utilize two durable screens that are attached to baggage just like any other bag tag, using an industrial-strength plastic zip tie.