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