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You’ll no longer be able to print online bag tags with Alaska

Sept. 07, 2022
3 min read
Alaska Airlines plane
You’ll no longer be able to print online bag tags with Alaska
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Alaska Airlines is dropping one of its most convenient ways to streamline the airport experience.

As of Sept. 12, the Seattle-based carrier will no longer offer the ability to print bag tags at home. This functionality previously allowed travelers with checked bags to complete online check-in and issue both a boarding pass and a bag tag at the same time.

After printing your bag tag, you could bring your checked luggage and its tag to the airport then head straight to the bag drop-off counter. You didn't need to interact with any machines or kiosks.

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Instead, an agent would help you affix the printed tag to your luggage, verify your ID and send your bag on its way.

This self-tag system has increased in popularity in recent years, with many airlines adding this functionality at airport check-in kiosks. However, few carriers have allowed the ability to print a tag at home.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

In fact, Alaska was the first U.S. carrier to launch the tagging-from-home technology back in 2014, following a successful pilot in the Seattle-to-Hawaii market a year earlier.

When the service officially launched, it was available in just four airports nationwide. Since then, the program has expanded to 95 cities from which Alaska flies.

"Usage of guests who print bag tags at home is low and oftentimes required them to still see an agent at the airport. At-home bag tag printing is being retired so that we can focus on the new Electronic Bag Tags coming later this fall as well as other enhancements to the lobby experience that will allow guests to quickly generate their bag tags," an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said in a statement confirming the move.

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While Alaska phases out one way to make the travel experience more efficient, the airline will shortly offer a new, more tech-savvy method of skipping the bag drop line.

The new method is a digital bag tag technology that'll be rolled out beginning later this year.

Flyers will have the option to attach a physical RFID-enabled electronic bag tag that’ll automatically update each time they fly.

COURTESY OF ALASKA AIRLINES

After completing mobile check-in, the device will sync with your phone through an antenna that powers and reads the information transmitted from the Alaska mobile app. The device’s e-paper screen will then display your digital bag tag.

After purchasing the device for around $70, you’ll no longer need to worry about stopping at check-in kiosks or printing bag tags. Instead, you can go straight to the bag drop counter and then head straight through security.

Although Alaska is rolling out new technology, some customers will certainly miss the self-tag bag drop option.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees