alaska airline hopes to give all passengers a chance to skip the queues at baggage check-in counters. The airline is now the first airline in the United States to launch an e-bag card program. Alaska will use software and hardware from a Dutch company called BAGTAG. Some major international airlines, such as Lufthansa, KLM and China Southern, are currently using BAGTAG’s electronic bag tag technology. But Will it be widely adopted in America?
According to Alaska Airlines press release, the airline will send 2,500 BAGTAG devices to its Mileage Pack members this week to try out the system. Preference is shown to elite-status members who have signed up for the program, have traveled with the airline in the past 12 months, and checked in at least one bag. Devices measuring 3 x 5 inches are attached to the luggage with a built-in zip fastener. Electronic baggage tags are updated with flight information during check-in through the Alaska Airlines smartphone app. This means there is no need to wait at the check-in counter or stop at an airport computer kiosk. Simply drop off your luggage at the designated location with your baggage tag activated and up to date.
“The last thing our guests want to do is stand in line,” said Charu Jain, senior vice president of sales and innovation for Alaska. “With the addition of Alaska Airlines’ electronic baggage tag, our passengers can complete almost all of their check-ins – from the comfort of home, at work or on the road. to catch their flight.”
Alaska estimates that the electronic bag tag system will cut the time passengers spend in airport lobbies by 40%. The airline also states that BAGTAG devices do not require charging or replacement batteries. Allegedly, Alaska employees tested the device’s durability by running it with a truck.
Alaska Airlines electronic baggage tagging devices will be available for purchase in 2023 and will operate on all Alaska Airlines marketing flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines. The retail price is yet to be revealed but is estimated to be around $70 based on the price of the standard BAGTAG device. While the convenience offered is appealing, I’m a bit skeptical, especially if Alaska is the only carrier where I can use the e-bag pass. If all the major US airlines used this system, I wouldn’t hesitate to buy one as a fairly regular customer.