Later this year Alaska Airlines will become the first US airline to launch an electronic bag tag programme.

Electronic bag tags from Dutch firm BAGTAG will allow guests to skip the step of printing traditional bag tags at the airport. Travellers will be able to activate the devices from anywhere – their home, office or even car – up to 24 hours before their flight, via the airline’s app. 

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

“Not only will our electronic bag tags allow our guests to quickly drop-off their luggage after they arrive at the airport, but the devices will also give our employees the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with guests who ask for assistance, as well as reducing lines in our lobbies,” said Jain.  

The activation involves simply touching the phone used for check-in to the electronic bag tag, which has an antenna that powers and reads the information transmitted from the phone. The e-paper bag tag’s screen will then display the guest’s flight information. 

Rollout of the electronic bag tag programme will happen in several phases. The first phase will initially include 2,500 Alaska Airlines frequent fliers who will begin using the electronic bag tags in late 2022. Mileage Plan members will have the option to purchase the devices early next year. 

“We are very proud to announce the first American carrier adopting our EBT solutions,” said BAGTAG managing director Jasper Quak. “Alaska Airlines’ relentless efforts to make the passenger journey a true 21st century experience make us very confident in a successful rollout among its guests.”  

The announcement follows the airline’s March launch of a new self-bag drop system at San Jose International Airport. Alaska Airlines uses the San Jose airport as an incubator for the future of seamless travel, including kiosk-less lobbies, DIY bag drop, biometric boarding and beyond.