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Self-Tagging Services Expand as U.S. Airlines Draw Inspiration From Europe

Passenger bag-tagging could be coming to your next flight, with projected expansion in the U.S.

Could self-tagging checked luggage become the new norm for flyers? Many experts believe the service could become mainstream in the U.S. sooner rather than later. The Wall Street Journal reports self-tagging luggage is a growing trend around the globe, with some airlines experimenting in permanent luggage tags.

While self-tagging luggage has been an everyday element of the travel experience in Europe, opportunities for self-tagging luggage in the U.S. only emerged in light of recent changes to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policies.

Alaska Airlines is among a growing number of U.S. carriers experimenting with the self-tagging service, offering members of its Mileage Plus loyalty program 5,000 bonus miles when they choose to self-tag their luggage. According to the Wall Street Journal, both American Airlines and United Airlines have plans to install self-tagging luggage kiosks at airports across the U.S.

“Home-printed and electronic bag tags are the low-hanging fruit for U.S. airlines,” Stephanie Taylor, manager of passenger services for Airlines for America, told the Wall Street Journal. “We’re expecting multiple carriers to adopt these solutions by the end of the year.”

In addition to the self-tagging service, Air France-KLM is experimenting with a permanent luggage tag for passengers. The airline holding company partnered with Eviate to create the eTag, a battery-powered tag that allows travelers to check their luggage from home. Upon checking the bag, the electronic luggage tag will display all the information found on a printed luggage tag, including barcodes for scanning between destinations.

Although self-tagging services are becoming more common, not everyone is a fan of the technology. Charlie Leocha, the head of flyer advocacy group Travelers United, told the Wall Street Journal that although the new technology has the potential to shorten lines at the airport, it also has the potential to frustrate travelers when flights are disrupted.

Some U.S. travelers, too, are concerned they could be stranded by self-tagging machines. “I don’t work for the airline. Why should I do their job?” frequent flyer Mark Sam Rosenthal told the Wall Street Journal. “If something goes wrong or I have a question, the self-tagging machine isn’t going to have an answer.”

[Photo: iStock]

Comments are Closed.
ThreeJulietTango July 14, 2015

As mentioned, AA has had this at most of their hubs for a while. There are still agents available to answer questions or troubleshoot. I strongly prefer the new machines because of the peace of mind of knowing that my bag has definitely been tagged for the right flight and destination, and because it's so much faster. I can have everything done in 2 minutes now without having to wait in some obsolete bag checking line.

N615HL July 14, 2015

AA does this at DFW today, I self tagged my bags 2 weeks ago. And as far as the comment "If something goes wrong or I have a question, the self-tagging machine isn’t going to have an answer.” Thats the same thing they said about the automated check in kiosks....but here we are

cmd320 July 14, 2015

AA has already been doing this for years now.