A suitcase bearing one of Hawaiian Airlines's Tag@Home tags
A suitcase bearing one of Hawaiian Airlines’s Tag@Home tags

The Internet and smartphones have made it easier to skip lines at airports by checking in and bringing a boarding pass in advance. But checking luggage for a long trip often still means waiting in line to get bags tagged and sent into the bowels of the airport.

Hawaiian Airlines is tackling that challenge, testing two pilot programs at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport designed to make it easy for customers to tag their bags without the wait.

The first program, called Tag@Home, allows travelers to print out their baggage tag at home and bring it with them to the airport, where they will receive a plastic tag to hold their printout. Once they’ve attached the tag to their bag, they can drop the bag off at a designated drop-off point and head through security.

Tag@Home launched earlier this month, and will run for a 60-day trial period at Sea-Tac and Oakland International Airport in California. After that, the company will look over its data and consider rolling the service out to the rest of its network.

For people who don’t want to tag their bag at home, Hawaiian is also testing out a new self-tagging service that allows users to weigh and tag their own luggage at a self-service kiosk at the airport. In addition to Seattle, the airline is also testing the service at eight other airports including JFK in New York and San Francisco International Airport.

Of course, the new programs could prove to be a problem for airport workers, since more people tagging their own bags means that Hawaiian (and other airlines that might follow suit after it) may need fewer staff members working behind the counter to get people checked in. So far, though, Hawaiian said it hasn’t reduced its staffing levels.

[This story has been updated to clarify Hawaiian's staffing practices and the number of airports using the self-tagging service.]

Comments

  • http://sunilgarg.com/ Sunil Garg

    Alaska Airlines already does this for a few routes departing from Seattle: http://www.alaskaair.com/content/travel-info/baggage/self-tag-express.aspx

  • Guest

    That’s all well and good, but they don’t fly to Seattle.

    @Qantas, you will begin flights to Seattle.

  • http://danwtmoon.com/ danwtmoon

    You’ve been able to do this on british airways for a while.

    • Repainted Thinner

      True, but British Airways always sends your bags to a random destination anyway, so they don’t even need tags.

  • AndTheHorseYouRodeUpOn

    What about excess baggage and 1st bag fees or overweight bags ? Why not give all control to the customer and just get rid of airport employees – Just automate everything…….gate podiums, baggage handlers, ramp guys,…..get robots to do all the work or create vending machines to take people’s money. This way the middle class jobs can be eliminated all that much sooner. I hope you all know I am being VERY sarcastic here. Signed, airline employee !!

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