SAN JOSE, Calif. - Alaska Airlines will become the first U.S. airline to roll out electronic tags for your checked luggage, and they’re doing it right here in the Bay Area. San Jose International Airport will be the first location in the country where passengers can check in their bags without waiting.
This tag is what you’re used to getting when you check in your bags at the airport. Now Alaska Airlines says they’re going to make it faster for people to get to where they’re going with an electronic device.
Alaska Airlines announced that later this year, they’ll be giving electronic tags like this to 2500 frequent flier passengers. They say the goal is to reduce the time spent checking in luggage by 40%.
"I can only speak as a mom, because when you’re trying to get the kids through the chaos at the airport, if you can save five minutes it’s great, especially when you have younger children," said Mirna Efujii, a Bay Area Resident.
People are traveling more this summer and streamlining the process at busy airports is sorely needed. Just this week, hundreds of passenger bags were delayed at London’s Heathrow Airport because of a system glitch, causing confusion and frustration. One traveler at the San Jose airport described what it was like for his family to fly just a couple of weeks ago.
"We were about an hour and half from our flight, and so we wanted to get our bags handed off, and it didn’t work out as we wanted it to. So we kind of hurried along, and thankfully we got to our gate in time, but it was chaotic," said Jerod Prettyman, who lives in Montana.
Alaska Airlines released a statement, saying in part:
"Not only will our electronic bag tags allow our guests to quickly drop-off their luggage after they arrive at the airport, the devices will also give our employees the opportunity to spend more one-on-one time with guests who ask for assistance and reduce lines at our lobbies." - Charu Jain, Alaska Airlines
"We wouldn’t have to stand at the kiosk and wait in line. Get the tag, put it on, wait in another line, to then hand off the bag but instead have everything ready to go," Prettyman said.
The activation is done by simply touching the phone and Alaska Airlines app used for checking in, on to the electronic tag. Your flight information will then load on to the electronic tag. Your bag can now be checked in without waiting in line.
Alaska says it’ll also offer the electronic bag tags to its Mileage Plan members early next year here in San Jose.