Alaska Airlines devised a way to make the flight check-in process even faster as travel demand surges: electronic bag tags.
Later this year, the Washington-based airline will become the first U.S. passenger carrier to launch the electronic bag tag program, which will effectively make the entire check in-process "almost all off-airport," Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines senior vice president of merchandising and innovation, said.
The time passengers spend dropping off their luggage is expected to drop by 40% as a result of the electronic bag tags.
"Not only will travelers with the devices be able to quickly drop-off their luggage, 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," Jain added.
Passengers will be able to attach and activate the electronic bag tags from anywhere, eliminating the need to print traditional bag tags at the airport.
The bag tags can be activated up to 24 hours before flights through the carrier's mobile app. The electronic bag tag, made by Dutch company BAGTAG, has an antenna that powers and reads the guest's flight information transmitted from the phone. The bag tag's screen will then display the flight information.
The rollout will kick off in three phases throughout 2022 and 2023. The first phase will start later this year with 2,500 Alaska Airlines' frequent fliers.
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It comes at a time when airports are facing the highest number of travelers since the pandemic began.
On July 1, Transportation Security Administration officers screened more than 2.49 million people at airport security checkpoints nationwide, which is the highest checkpoint volume since February 2020.
However, the airline industry, which is facing a staffing crunch, is struggling to keep up with the demand. Passengers throughout the summer have faced delays, canceled flights and even lost luggage.