It’s no secret that this summer has been one of the most hectic for the aviation industry. Delays, cancellations, and lost baggage have become an all too familiar story for travelers worldwide. Airports and airlines have taken notice, and many are trying out new tactics to help alleviate some of this summer’s travel woes. From digital luggage tags to early bag drop-off, here are some ways airlines are changing the way you can drop off your luggage for your next trip.
Digital Luggage Tags
Although digital luggage tags are nothing new, they haven’t become seriously widespread. Many airlines have offered them for some time, but none have ever been available from a U.S. airline. However, Alaska Airlines has just announced that they will begin rolling out digital luggage tags this year, making them the first U.S. airline to do so. “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 for Alaska Airlines, in a press release.
Skipping the check-in line and heading straight to a bag drop-off can be a huge time saver when trying to get through the airport quickly. With digital luggage tags, travelers simply use their phones to check in, and the luggage tag will read the information from the phone and begin displaying the flight information needed for the bag to reach its final destination. Time will tell if other U.S. airlines take notice of this emerging technology and join the fray. For now, it is promising that it has made it to at least one U.S. carrier.
Airlines around the world that have digital luggage tag options include, but are not limited to:
- British Airways via TAG
- Lufthansa via BAGTAG
- Swiss via BAGTAG
- Austrian via BAGTAG
- Air Dolomiti via BAGTAG
- China Southern via BAGTAG
- KLM via BAGTAG
Self-Print Luggage Tags
Like digital luggage tags, self-printing luggage tags aim to reduce the lines at the airport’s check-in counter, thereby reducing wait times. There are several airlines in the U.S. and abroad that make use of self-tag programs and bag drop-offs. The more standard version of self-tagging exists in the form of self-help kiosks in the airport. But did you know that some airlines allow you to print your luggage tags at home before ever arriving at the airport?
Like digital luggage tags, Alaska Airlines is leading the charge in bringing this option to travelers within the United States. If you are traveling from an eligible airport, you can print your luggage tag at home, head straight to the bag drop area after arrival at the airport, and make your way to security.
Airlines around the world that have self-print-at-home tag options include, but are not limited to:
Early Bag Drop-Off
In an effort to make sure that bags get where they need to go, some airlines have started to allow passengers booked for an early morning flight the option to drop off their checked bags the day before their flight. This can make it easier and quicker to get through the airport in the morning when things tend to be busier. However, one downside to this service is that it only makes sense to take advantage of it if you live near (or are staying near) the airport. On top of that, the airports and airlines currently offering the service are relatively limited, at least for now.
EasyJet, based in the U.K., is currently allowing travelers to drop their bags off the night before their flight at London Gatwick, Bristol, and Berlin Brandenburg airports. Similarly, Air France is encouraging travelers flying out of Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport to check in their luggage the night before their scheduled departures. The decision comes after thousands of delayed and canceled flights and lost luggage.
Travel demand is higher than ever, and it doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. The aviation industry is still short-staffed after laying off much of its workforce during the pandemic. Hopefully, airlines and airports will continue to innovate and think of new ways to improve the travel experience as they try to replenish the staff lost from the pandemic.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories