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Alaska Airlines Introduces Electronic Bag Tag Program

The electronic tagging devices are currently available to select Mileage Plan members, but will be rolled out to all passengers next year

by Fergus Cole

December 5, 2022

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines has introduced an electronic bag tagging program enabling passengers to track luggage during their travels, becoming the first U.S. carrier to do so.

The small, three-by-five-inch devices will allow passengers to track their bags from the minute they check in until they pick them up from the baggage drop. They will be updated with each passenger’s flight information once they check-in online and will be able to be monitored via the Alaska Airlines mobile app.

According to the carrier, these tags will make their customers’ travel experience much smoother, cutting waiting times by up to 40% and eliminating the need for traditional paper tags.

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Charu Jain, senior vice president of merchandising and innovation at Alaska Airlines, notes, “The last thing our guests want to do is stand in line. With the addition of the Alaska Airlines electronic bag tag, our guests can complete almost all of their check-in tasks – from the comfort of their home, at work or on the way to catching their flight.”

The first passengers to receive the electronic bag tags will be 2,500 Alaska Airlines’ Mileage Plan members, with deliveries beginning this week. Current eligible customers are elite status members who have traveled with Alaska during the last 12 months, have checked in at least one item of luggage, and were among the first to register interest in the tags.

However, from 2023, all Alaska Airlines customers will be able to purchase the devices, according to the carrier. The tags will also be compatible with flights operated by airline’s partners—Horizon Air and SkyWest Airlines.

Photo: Courtesy of Alaska Airlines

Both the hardware and software for the electronic bag tags were developed by BAGTAG, a Dutch technology company specializing in digital baggage-tracking solutions. According to BAGTAG and Alaska Airlines, the new devices are highly durable and have a long life span – they also don’t need charging or battery replacements.

“We’ve tested our electronic bag tags on countless flights across the country, including international routes where Alaska Airlines flies, and the devices performed exactly as they’re meant to,” claimed Jain. “We’ll collect feedback from our first wave of users before the devices become available to purchase to all our guests early next year.”

Jaspar Quak, managing director of BAGTAG, believes “Alaska Airlines is an excellent example of a carrier on a mission to improve all aspects of their passenger’s experience. This vision is leading their choices for innovation, such as electronic bag tags, and we are very proud to assist them in this project.”