Self-Tagging Your Airline Checked Baggage

Self-Tagging Your Airline Checked Baggage

SuitcasesWhile reviewing plans for a trip to Seattle later this year, I discovered that airline passengers can now do something only airline staff at airport check-in counters have been been permitted to do in the past: Print out and attach baggage tags to checked luggage.

I’m surprised that this development has been so long in coming. After all, for several years passengers have been able to check-in for flights and print boarding passes using computers rather than waiting to do so after arriving at the airport. Now they’ll be able to print their baggage tags at the same time. The idea, of course, is to speed up the airport check-in process.

For my upcoming trip, I’ll be flying on Alaska Airlines which offers its “Self-Tag Express” option at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and which hopefully will have it in-place at San Francisco International by early August when my trip takes place. The following video from the airline shows how it works.

Alaska will be sending me free baggage tag holders to attach to my suitcases. The only question is whether the baggage tag holders provided by Alaska will stay securely fastened to my luggage as it whizzes its way through the airport baggage delivery system on its way to my departing plane. Alaska says they should last for 10 flights and new ones can be picked up at the airport or sent to me via mail.

You can still have an Alaska Airline agent print and attach the bag tags to your luggage at the airport. And the “Self-Tag Express” option isn’t available to those who check-in for a flight using a mobile device, or at all airports served by the airline. And the print-at-home option during online check-in will only be available for those traveling on nonstop or “direct” (meaning the plane stops at least once on the way to your final destination, but you don’t change planes) flights.

Other airlines that offer some form of self-tagging of checked luggage include Air Canada, American, Southwest, and United, all of which allow you to do so only at the airport, but don’t allow you to print bag tags at home.

Before leaving on your trip , find out if your airline lets you print out and attach bag tags to your luggage either at home, or at your departure airport.

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