Skip The Line! Alaska Airlines Becomes The First U.S. Airline To Launch Electronic Bag Tags

Alaska Airlines passengers can skip the line at the baggage check counter with the airline’s electronic bag tag program launch. This makes Alaska Airlines the first airline in the United States to use electronic bag tag technology. International airlines such as China Southern, Lufthansa, and KLM currently use this technology.

The airline will use software and hardware from BAGTAG, a Dutch company.

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How will it work?

An Alaska Airlines press release reveals that the airline will send out 2,500 BAGTAG devices this week as a trial for Mileage Plan members. Members were chosen based on their status and travel history. For example, elite-status members who applied for the electronic bag tag program and traveled with Alaska Airlines with a checked bag within the last 12 months were shown preference.

The devices, measuring by three-by-five inches, are attached to travelers’ luggage with a zip tie. The bag tag is updated with the traveler’s flight information through the airline’s app during check-in. 

Alaska Airlines worker
Alaska Airlines

How does an electronic bag tag save travelers time?

With an electronic bag tag, travelers won’t have to wait at the baggage check counter or stop at a kiosk when arriving at the airport. They’ll have to drop their luggage off at the designated location after activating the bag tag. The airline expects the program to cut the time travelers spend in airport lobbies by 40 percent. 

Chart Jain, senior vice president of merchandising and innovation for Alaska Airlines, says, “The last thing our guests want to do is stand in line. With the addition of the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag, our guests can complete almost all of their check-in tasks — from the comfort of their home, at work, or on the way to catching their flight.”

According to the airline, the BAGTAGs don’t need to be charged or use replacement batteries. 

How to get an electronic bag tag

Travelers can start purchasing Alaska Airlines’ electronic bag tags in 2023. The tags will work on all flights operated by Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air, and SkyWest Airlines. 

Although the price hasn’t been confirmed, sources predict the cost to be around $70. This estimate is based on the average cost of BAGTAG devices. 

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