Alaska Airlines Is Launching a New Electronic Device to Make Checking Bags Easier

The airline will soon rollout electronic bag tags to its frequent fliers.

The BAGTAG, electronic bag tag on top of an mother and daughter pulling suitcases in an airport
Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

As airlines continue to endure a hectic travel season where cancellations, delays, and long lines are par for the course, Alaska Airlines is hoping to alleviate some woes with a new luggage checking system.

On Tuesday, the airline announced the launch of a new electronic bag tag, which will allow travelers to skip having to get their bag tag printed out and can instead activate the device from anywhere and quickly drop off their luggage instead.

"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 for Alaska Airlines, shared in a statement. "Not only will travelers with the devices be able to quickly drop off their luggage, [but] our electronic bag tags will help also reduce lines in our lobbies and give our employees the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with guests who ask for assistance."

The activation, the airline explained, can be completed by touching the passengers phone used for mobile check-in to the electronic bag tag, which has a small antenna that powers and reads the information transmitted from the phone. The bag tag's screen will then display the guest's flight information.

According to Jain, the airline expects this new innovation to reduce the time travelers spend dropping off their checked luggage by 40%.

The best part? No batteries required.

The airline partnered with the Dutch company BAGTAG to both create and test the device to ensure the screens were durable enough to go on multiple, long-haul journeys. According to Alaska Airlines, it can withstand being run over by a luggage cart and comes with an industrial-strength plastic zip tie, making it nearly impossible to rip off.

However, it may be a while before passengers see these e-tags in action. The airline explained it will roll out the devices in phases, beginning with 2,500 of its frequent fliers who will pilot the tags in late 2022. Mileage Plan members will then have the option to purchase the devices starting in early 2023, though the airline did not say how much the tags will cost.

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