Phone-Activated BAGTAG Speeds Up Hawaii Travel

Here’s the next big thing coming to Hawaii air travel and other worldwide destinations. Alaska is the first U.S. airline to test this latest technology that reduces your check-in time at the airport. Remember the name: BAGTAG. “It completely recreates the ecosystem of airport baggage check-in, but without physical staff or paper luggage labels.”

This next interaction of travel automation joins electronic passenger check-in. Your bags will check-in via your phone at the same time as you check-in for your Hawaii flight. I know it sounds confusing, so read further and let us know your thoughts on this latest invention.

It was announced today that Alaska Airlines would be the first U.S. carrier to launch its electronic bag tag program. The devices are durable screens that display bag information and replace paper. These are said to be able to endure substantial abuse and keep working. They’re affixed to bags using an “industrial strength plastic zip tie.”

Alaska said, “This technology allows our guests to tag their own bags in seconds and makes the entire check-in process almost all off-airport.” BAGTAG is expected to reduce the luggage check-in processing time by nearly half.

When leaving Hawaii, however, the x-ray of bags at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture will continue to be required.

Here’s how to use BAGTAG.

It looks like a Kindle screen on your baggage tag. Alaska said, “The activation is done by 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 display the guest’s flight information. Alaska’s electronic bag tags will display the guest’s flight information. Our electronic bag tag program is expected to reduce the time spent dropping-off checked luggage by nearly 40%.”

Some of you might have already seen these if you flew to Hawaii (or elsewhere on Alaska Air in March when they launched the new self-bag drop system). “Our goal is to modernize travel at every major city we fly, from reimagining the lobby to testing innovative technology that streamlines the airport experience, according to Alaska.”

Alaska has chosen San Jose airport for various future developments in “seamless travel.” Their incubator in San Jose includes not only the BAGTAG technology but also kiosk-less lobbies, biometric boarding, and other innovations. San Jose’s Mayor said, “Alaska Airlines is the first U.S. airline to pioneer this innovative electronic bag tag program here at SJC. This program will modernize the check-in process and provide a more sustainable option for travelers.” The words sustainable and travel seem tied at the hip from now on.

A test group of Alaska’s frequent fliers will be offered the tags in 2022. They will be more widely available starting in early 2023.

What’s the cost of BAGTAG?

It isn’t clear how Alaska will charge for the new luggage tags. On the manufacturer’s website, they are listed at €66, or about $66.

The rollout of the electronic bag tag program will happen in several phases. The first phase will 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 their passenger journey a true 21st-century experience makes us very confident in a successful rollout among their guests.”

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6 thoughts on “Phone-Activated BAGTAG Speeds Up Hawaii Travel”

  1. Aloha Rob,+Jeff. So now the baggage check in people and baggage people at the departure area are going to lose their jobs? I wonder what will be next.This technology is getting too fast and far ahead of me as I get older. I can see the ease of it in many ways. What is your opinion since you two travel so much? Thanks again for your interesting news.

    1. Hi Debra.

      Thanks for your interesting views as well. 🙂 We don’t have any point of view. It is an interesting technology, and tech is something we both like. Will it displace employees – not sure it will? But clearly, it will get rid of a lot of paper bag tags and maybe have more use. Not sure. We will try them as we both have a number of AS flights upcoming late this year and next.


  2. I think its a great idea, to make check-in quicker. But I couldn’t see information about how they know the weight of luggage surely they aren’t relying of passenger 🤔

  3. Good in theory. Just ordered 4 Apple tags for $90 at Amazon. Will locate my bags throughout the world on my phone. Can’t believe airlines will absorb the cost of these bagtags:) Read story where airline said guys skis were in the terminal. The Apple tag located the skiis on the tarmac..airline forgot to deliver to the terminal:)

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