Alaska Airlines is looking to speed up the time spent checking baggage for flights with the introduction of electronic bag tags.
The program will roll out later this year for its frequent flyer members, and later for its Mileage Plan members, who will have the opportunity to purchase the tags.
Alaska has not announced a price for the tags, or if the program will expand to the general public.
The airline estimates the program can reduce the time it takes to check in for a flight by up to 40 percent.
“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 for merchandising and innovation, said in a blog post announcing the program.
Travelers will attach the electronic tag to their luggage, then activate the device up to 24 hours before their flight on the airline’s mobile app.
Activation is done by touching the phone to the tag. The tag’s screen will then display the traveler’s flight information.
The airline says the devices will not only save time for those using the tags, but for other guests as well.
“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,” Jain said.
The company behind the technology is confident the system will be beneficial to travelers.
“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,” said Jasper Quak, managing director of BAGTAG.
The electronic bag tags are the latest step Alaska has taken to reduce time spent checking in for flights. In March, the airline unveiled a new self-bag drop system at San Jose International Airport.
The airport lobby is equipped with a series of Apple iPods where customers can scan their boarding pass, print their tags, and self-tag their luggage in a matter of seconds.
Alaska estimates the program cuts about 4 minutes off of the time normally spent in the airport lobby.
“As we grow our airline and fly more people to more places, we are looking for unique ways to create a seamless travel experience for our guests,” Jain said. “We’re using tech to also empower and equip our employees with the latest tools to offer the most caring service for our guests.”
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