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.]