Alaska Airlines to introduce electronic bag tags for frequent fliers


FILE – In this Monday, March 1, 2021 file photo, The first Alaska Airlines passenger flight on a Boeing 737-9 Max airplane takes off on a flight to San Diego from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. Dozens of flights along the U.S. West Coast were canceled Friday, April 1, 2022 as Alaska Airlines pilots picketed during ongoing contract negotiations with the airline. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

(The Hill) — Alaska Airlines announced Tuesday it was rolling out an electronic bag tag program, the first airline in the U.S. to introduce the feature.

In a press release, Alaska Airlines said they will launch the new program in late 2022 to include 2,500 frequent fliers. In early 2023, the program will expand to include members who subscribe to the company’s mileage plan.

Electronic bag tags allow guests to skip the step of printing out a traditional bag tag that would have to be scanned at the airport.

Instead, guests can activate the devices from their home or car 24 hours in advance of boarding their flight via a mobile app from Alaska Airlines.

Charu Jain, the senior vice president of merchandising and innovation at Alaska Airlines, said the new process “allows our guests to tag their own bags in just seconds and makes the entire check-in process almost all off-airport.”

“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 added in a statement.

The news comes after airlines across the U.S. are struggling with delays caused by staffing shortages, which was especially significant over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

In March, Alaska Airlines also introduced a self bag-drop system at San Jose International Airport. The new initiatives are part of the company’s goal to streamline the flight experience for guests and particularly frequent fliers.

Alaska Airlines is using technology from the company Bagtag, which has partnered with other airlines including Germany’s Lufthansa and China Southern Airlines.

Bagtag Managing Director Jasper Quak said he was “proud to announce the first American carrier adopting our EBT solutions.”

“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,” he said in a statement.

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