Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Do-It-Your-Self-Travel Continues: Self-Tagging
USA Today reports that American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Air Canada are in talks with the Transportation Security Administration for a test program to let travelers tag their own checked bags. American and Air Canada plan a trial run in Boston later this year.
Self-tagging (or letting travelers print and affix destination tags on bags) is common at foreign airports. Only airline agents can currently do this in the U.S. Airlines indicate this process is designed to help speed passengers through check-in. Passengers will still have to see an agent who will check the ID, scan the tag to validate it and place the bags on the conveyor belt.
Worldwide, 32 airlines allow self-tagging at airports in such cities as Amsterdam and Stockholm where passengers can place tags and drop their luggage at designated spots without seeing an agent.
I noticed on my last two overseas trips on American that more and more services are being optioned through self check-in. For example the kiosks to check-in and print boarding passes are also used for upgrades, one-day memberships to the airline lounge and for promotions such as miles maximizing which for a fee based on distance a passenger is able to increase the number of miles earned for the ticketed travel.
Bottom line this process may or may not speed the check-in process but it reduces the cost for airlines as the labor of and need for airline agents declines.