The Airlines Take DIY to a Whole New Level with Electronic Bag Tags

 In Chicago, News, Travel

video-undefined-18C7A8D700000578-983_636x358The airlines have slowly but surely taken the service out of their customer service for years now. Many airlines have long switched to mostly self-serve check-in but now a new self-service option is coming and it may surprise you. DIY baggage check is coming and it’s being touted as a way to enable travelers to arrive at the airport with their bags already tagged and ready to drop off with no staff assistance.

According to Financial Review online, “Airlines including British Airways are trialing permanent electronic bag tags that would remove the need for a new paper label each time a passenger flies. Once a traveler checks in online, they would be able to hold their smartphone over the electronic bag tag, which would update with a barcode containing their flight details. This tag could then be quickly scanned at the self-service bag drop before the passenger heads through security.”

Airlines see this as a time saving for customers and a cost savings for them. The hope is that the electronic tags will become as cheap as $4 or $5 each so a traveler can buy as many as they want. They are also reusable which is an additional cost saving.

Another important benefit is that an electronic tag can be updated remotely if there is any disruption on the route, ensuring that the tag will have the new flight details. This may translate to more accuracy in rerouting bags when flights change in route- although that remains to be seen.

So far electronic bag tags are being tested by Air-France and Turkish Airlines. But, along with technologies such as self-service bag drops and WiFi, electronic bag tags have been slow to catch on as airlines have focused on more urgent capital investments.

It seems the industry has been heading to self-serve baggage check for some time already. According to this year’s baggage report by the air transport information technology specialist SITA, only 9% of airlines currently offer fully self-service baggage drops. It predicts this will rise to 70% by the end of 2017.

So weigh in frequent business and leisure travelers! Is self-serve bag tagging a good thing? Will it make your travel day easier and faster or is it more of a hassle? Share your important opinions with us on Twitter and Facebook using hashtag #DIYbaggage.


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