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Alaska Airlines to use Electronic Bag Tags?!

Tired of waiting in line to get a bag tag from an agent, and then having to rip all those sticky, nasty tags off of your luggage afterwards?  I know I am; so much in fact that I still haven't taken mine off from our last trip.  I'm sure that the next agent to put one on will take it off for me.  Well, this is all about to change...

Jon and Ben have been flying and collecting miles for years now. Together they travel the world, in first class of course, at least once a month for pennies on the dollar. You can read all about Jon and Ben's travels on their website, www.NoMasCoach.com

Per Alaska’s blog today, they’ve been testing a new electronic bag tag with a kindle-esque screen that updates automatically via your Alaska Airlines app.

Alaska's new electronic bag tag - courtesy of Alaska Airline's blog

Alaska’s new electronic bag tag – courtesy of Alaska Airline’s blog

The company behind the tags, Vanguard ID Systems of West Chester, Pennsylvania, worked for over a decade to develop the tag, which utilizes bluetooth technology.  It should last 2 years and won’t need to be charged for that entire time.

“We’re really excited about the possibility of electronic bag tags. If we like what we see during the test, this could be a very cool new tool for our tech-savvy, do-it-yourself customers,” says Loesje Degroen, customer R&D manager and project lead.

Alaska’s been testing it out on a small scale since the fall of 2015, and they’re going to be rolling it out to a larger group of their frequent flyers this summer.

According to Alaska Airlines’ website, the process is pretty simple.  If electronic bag tags make it to the mainstream, customers can expect the following day-of-travel timeline:

  1. Check in for your flight via the Alaska Airlines mobile app.
  2. When prompted, select the number of bags to be checked and complete check-in.
  3. Turn on the electronic bag tag to prepare it for syncing. The bag tag will automatically update.
  4. At the airport, find a customer service agent who will check your ID, scan the bag tag and send you on your way.
Electronic Bag Tag Instructions

Electronic Bag Tag Instructions

I love that Alaska is innovating and trying to make the mundane exciting.  It’s always seemed to me that there needs to be an easier way to get the luggage process going, rather than waiting in line for 15, 20, 30 minutes or more to speak to an agent.  Alaska already innovated over 8 years ago with their 20 minute bag guarantee (of which Ben and I have taken advantage of plenty of times) and then they rolled out their at home self tagging of luggage.  Kudos to Alaska Airlines for launching this.  I only hope that we get to be selected to try it out this summer! #IFlyAlaska @AlaskaAir (if you’re listening…)

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