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Alaska sets digital tag, but is it worth it?


Alaska Airlines is trying out a digital baggage tag that will allow users to 'print' their baggage tags to the electronic device via the airline's phone app, and then skip the tag-and-drop line at the airport.

Sounds good, but it comes with a hefty price: $70 per tag, one needed for each checked bag, and no discount on any bag fees with it. And, since it only works on Alaska Airlines in the U.S., it may not be a top choice for any but the most loyal and frequent Alaska flyers.

The device, made by a Dutch company with the likely name of Bagtag, attaches to the suitcase with a heavy-duty zip tie. Once the tag information has been transferred to the device, the user arrives at the airport and heads straight to the bag drop, without printing out labels at a kiosk or counter.

Internationally, it's in use or in pilot stage with Lufthansa, Air France/KLM and China Southern, and can also be found built-in on luxury suitcases from Rimowa.

Perhaps when more airlines adopt it, it will become a reasonable and likely cheaper alternative, but some of us—the ones who not only put the airline label around the handle but also apply the two or three little tabs to different parts of the suitcase—may not be comfortable with a device that could come off or... perhaps... lose its mind.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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