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Alaska Airlines will start to roll out the revolutionary electronic bag tag technology. The programme – which is due to start before the end of the year – will allow passengers to check-in luggage from the comfort of their home, office or anywhere else.

Alaska Airlines‘ electronic bag tags will allow guests to skip the step of printing traditional bag tags at the airport. Travellers will be able to activate the devices from anywhere up to 24-hours before their flight through the airline’s mobile app. 

“This technology allows our guests to tag their own bags in just seconds and makes the entire check-in process almost all off-airport,” said Charu Jain, senior vice president of merchandising and innovation at Alaska Airlines.

“Not only will our electronic bag tags allow our guests to quickly drop-off their luggage after they arrive at the airport, 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 is partnering with Dutch company Bagtag on the programme.  The devices are equipped with durable screens that have been tested to withstand being run over by a luggage cart, and are affixed to baggage just like any other bag tag, using an industrial strength plastic zip tie.

Bagtag electronic devices are already used at Lufthansa Group (Lufthansa, Austrian and Swiss), China Southern, KLM and Air Dolomiti.

(Photo: Alaska Airlines/Bagtag)

First US airline to use the electronic bag tags

“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 activation of the electronic tag is done by simply touching the phone used for check-in to the electronic bag tag, which has an antenna that powers and reads the information transmitted from the phone. The e-paper bag tag’s screen will then display the guest’s flight information. The standard barcode that passengers can see on a printed bag tag appear on the electronic bag tag as well as on the phone.

Rollout of the electronic bag tag programme will happen in several phases. The first phase will initially include 2,500 Alaska Airlines’ frequent fliers who will begin using the electronic bag tags in late 2022. Mileage Plan members will have the option to purchase the devices early next year.

To view how to use the electronic bag tag programme, Alaska Airlines produced a video which can be seen here.