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Alaska Airline’s new electronic bag tag will let you speed through the airport lobby – TechCrunch

Baggage screening might not be the best idea at the moment given the current state of the global airline industry. But sometimes you don’t have a choice, and soon, at least if you’re flying Alaska Airlines, the whole baggage check-in process might just become a little bit easier. After a trial a few years ago, the airline announced today that it will begin rolling out free electronic baggage tags to a group of 2,500 of its Mileage Plan elite now departing from San Jose, with a broad rollout for all Mileage Plan members (who have to pay for their tags) in 2023.

Unlike the current system where you print out a tag at the airport – or have an airline agent do it for you – with these robust new electronic tags, you simply check in on your phone as you normally would. Once you’ve decided to check a bag, hold the phone close to the tag and use your phone’s NFC chip to transfer that data to the tag to view on the built-in e-ink display, which simply pops up the standard barcode that you would also see on a printed luggage tag. In addition, the tag also has an RFID chip, which some airports are now using for their automated baggage systems.

Photo credit: Alaska

Charu Jain, Alaska’s senior vice president of merchandising and innovation, tells me the company will initially provide free tags to about 2,500 flyers who regularly inspect bags in San Jose. All Mileage Plan members will be able to purchase these tags in early 2023.

“At Alaska, we’re very focused on improving our guest’s experience at every touch point, whether they’re purchasing a ticket or shopping—whether they’re walking to the airport, or whether they’re on the plane or collecting their luggage. She explained. “When we looked at the airport environment specifically in relation to this project – you know, 50% of our guests check a bag – and that means they need a bag tag because the bag tag is needed to get it through.” managing the entire system.” But even at the airport, the baggage tag becomes a bottleneck, because even if a traveler has already paid for his baggage, he still has to print it out and check it.

Now, for the lucky few in San Jose, the entire process is being automated. You simply arrive with the electronic baggage tag and use the airline’s new self-service bag drops (which automatically scan and weigh the baggage). Jain believes that for these travelers, the entire process of moving through the airport lobby and checking in their luggage should only take a few minutes. She noted that the airline already has a very high number of passengers using its self-service check-in options and baggage tag printers.

When Alaska first tested an early version of this new luggage tag in 2015, this tag still used batteries (the new one didn’t, as the phone provided just enough power to change the e-ink display) and had a few buttons. The label is made of highly resistant plastic. Gus Naughton, a senior software engineer at Alaska who worked on this project, told me the airline tested it, running everything from baggage carts, catering trucks, and even jet bridge bikes over it. Apparently it worked well, and these new labels could last a lifetime, the airline argues, while saving a ton of paper in the process (and while Alaska argues there’s a sustainability aspect to all of this, I think it’s going to last a whole lot of luggage tags to achieve some sort of parity given the energy and material required to manufacture those tags).

Anyway – don’t check a bag if you can avoid it. thanks me later

Alaska Airline’s new electronic bag tag will let you speed through the airport lobby – TechCrunch Source link Alaska Airline’s new electronic bag tag will let you speed through the airport lobby – TechCrunch

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