Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Even More Independent Traveler

To some of you this is old news – to others it’s a startling surprise.  One more step making the airline traveler independent.  Or making flying more self-service.  Airlines now say:  tag that bag (that you are paying to check) and put it on the belt – yourself.

Alaska Airline travelers are familiar with this practice that they started several years. Travelers can print their bag tags with their boarding passes.  But for me – it was a surprise.

Returning from Paris earlier this year I was puzzled, a bit confused when an Air France staff member told me that I could avoid the very, very, very long check in line if I’d print a luggage tag and attach to my bag myself.  The line for self tagged bags was as short as the other was long.  No question.  I’d figure out the tag (and wonder all through the flight if it really would stay on).  No problem.  Luggage and tag arrived in San Francisco as planned.

But just as I adapted to this new step I discovered there are more changes to come.  According to the Wall Street Journal ( digital tags are on the horizon.  These will be permanent bag tags that digitally update if flight plans change.

According to the article “more than a third of global airlines now ask fliers to tag their own bags, compared with 13% in 2009, according to SITA, an airline-technology firm. By 2018, more than three-quarters of carriers intend to offer the service.”

Progress or a bother for the traveler?  Will it help avoid lost luggage or send our bags randomly around the world? 

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