Airlines Set to Test Do-It-Yourself Bag Tagging

by Libby Zay 
Posted Nov 3rd 2010 11:56 AMUpdated Nov 3rd 2010 12:04 PM


Several major airlines are working with the Transportation Security Administration to institute a new measure that will allow travelers to tag their own checked baggage. According to a report by USA Today, this is the first time travelers will be able to print and affix destination tags to their bags in the United States-a practice that is common at international airports.

If all goes well, American Airlines and Air Canada plan to initiate a self-tagging trial run at Logan International Airport in Boston before the start of the busy holiday season this year. Delta Air Lines told USA Today the airline is working to get a similar program off the ground at another airport.

Travelers will print their tags at self-service kiosks near the check-in counters. No agent supervision will be necessary for this part of the process, but passengers will still have to show ID to another agent who will then scan the bar code on the tag and place it on a conveyor belt.

The Transportation Security Administration will still screen bags for explosives before being loaded onto aircraft. Since this has always happened behind the scenes, the airlines believe the new self-tagging process will not impose additional security risks.

If the trial runs are successful, this may mean an overhaul in the check-in process at airports across the country. The Air Transport Association (IATA), a global airline trade group, reported there are 32 airports that allow self-tagging internationally. At airports in Amsterdam and Stockholm, travelers simply print their tags and drop their luggage without ever interacting with an agent, said IATA spokesman Steve Lott to USA Today. US Airways allows travelers to tag their own bags for U.S.-bound flights from Montreal-Trudeau Airport in Canada.

"We want to eliminate any hassles related to waiting in line," Lott said. "It removes some cost and hassle for airlines, too."

However, automation also means an elimination of jobs. Self-service at airports has already led to a reduction in the airline workforce. Since August 2005, the number of employees working in the U.S. airline industry has dropped 8.4 percent to 564,000. Kiosks programmed to allow customers to print boarding passes and upgrade seats are surely a factor in the decline.

Photo by sugree on flickr.

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Stan LOrenz

BAD IDEA LETTING PASSENGERS TAG BAGS! This could get out of hand and bag tags could wind up in the wrong hands. Working for a major Airlines we gave bag tags a high security rating, because again tagging bags should be done and only done by a Airline agent. Slowly but surely security related items are starting to get laxed. For security purposes let the Airline handle this very important function.

Airline retired ground service instructor 40 years

November 04 2010 at 9:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Not to mention the obvious. It is evidence because your fingerprints will be on the tag.

November 04 2010 at 5:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


November 04 2010 at 4:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, what is happening to customer service in this Country ? Why not save some jobs and not do this...a counter check-out person should do it, not the customer. If this will be the case, then all baggage fees should be dropped in addition to discounts on flying since the customer is doing all the work. What's next, asking the customers to be an Attendant and serve the other passengers ??? Sad.....I will drive to my next destination..thank you very much !!!

November 04 2010 at 2:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Let's see... $25.00 for the bag and now I have to tag it myself. What's next? Want me to serve some drinks too? How about flying the plane? Hell, we don't need your employees at all, just leave the key in the ignition.

November 04 2010 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

well let's see we have to put up with abuse , be treated like cattle or worse and pay handsomely AND do everything except fly the plane! But then with some of the pilots maybe we should do that too.
Talk about getting wayyyyy out of hand.....

November 03 2010 at 11:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I feel that I'm paying a fee ( as bologny as it is ) for luggage, the least they can do is put a dang-blasted tag on the bag. My guess is that you will be charged a fee if you don't do it soon.
HEAR ME OL GREAT AIRLINES IN THE SKY....THE PEOPLE ARE GETTING FED UP. Stop with this ala carte' pricing and just charge a square deal appropriately, and you will succeed. If not, I suspect hard times ahead for your industry.

November 03 2010 at 10:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If this is the case then they should drop the charges for checked baggage. I just flew to and from California and because I wanted to take the larger sizes of toiletries (sp?) that I already owned and were only half full anyway, I had to check the bag instead of carrying it on. The charge to check the bag was $25 EACH WAY! The only thing the agent did was look at my ID, hand me a receipt, and wrap the luggage tag around the handle. You know, instead of robbing us to check our luggage, and since most people carry it on anyway and slow down the boarding process, why doesn't the airline just charge everyone an extra $5.00 and let whomever wants to check their bags for free. Charging to check luggage is nothing but a total rip-off. It truly makes me not want to fly anywhere within the continental U.S. When flying internationally you can check 2 bags for free! Hmmm, I wonder why that is??? Bags are bags aren't they?

November 03 2010 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Elgin's comment

To Elgin: Are your favorite toiletries really worth $50?

Why not go to your local drugstore and buy 3 or 4 small empty bottles for a total of $5 and fill them from your large bottles?

November 04 2010 at 12:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just another way to cut jobs, customer service; but not the cost of flying!!! I say NO to this and all of the other customer services they've cut over the past several years. I'd rather drive to my destination, rather than rely on terrible service. A lot of times I can get there faster and cheaper, than all of the crap you have to go through to fly.

November 03 2010 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Just one more reason I don't fly unless I absolutely have to. Just came back from Alaska and at the kiosk in Vancouver, in attempt to get boarding pass, it would not process. The reason was my ticket name was different than my passport name. You can't use your middle name on your ticket and your full name on your passport and get the kioski to work properly. There will be glitches and delays for sure. TSA attitudes don't help. In Minniapolis, I left a bottle of water in my jacket pocket. One would have thought I had a bomb in my pocket. The whole process is over the top. Security is necessary for sure, but the way it is executed is unbelievable. There are a few very nice TSA people but more often it appears the government went to the lowest IQ depot, rounded up the unemployed, slapped a badge on them and said now you are in charge. I will fly if I have to, but if the trip is 800 miles or less, I'm driving.

November 03 2010 at 8:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to george's comment