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Airlines Testing ‘Tag Your Own’ Bag Program

The Boston Herald reports Air Canada and American will launch similar pilot programs at Boston’s Logan Airport in which passengers print out their own baggage tag and affix it to their bag. The pilots will begin next month.

But while the idea sounds initially like a no-brainer—consumers and airlines tend to prefer a do-it-yourself approach to basic services—the procedure is actually a bit of a head-scratcher. After printing the tag and putting it on the bag, passengers must then bring the luggage to an airline official who checks the passengers’ ID and activates the tag.

So instead of bringing luggage to the check-in desk, where an airline employee prints out the tag and takes the bag, passengers print out the tag themselves and then bring it to an employee, who checks the tag and takes the bag. How, exactly, does this save time for the consumer, or streamline operations for the airline?

For now, neither American nor Air Canada have officially commented on how the procedure will work—details came from unnamed sources. What we do know is that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) initially objected to the idea, and the airlines’ programs were “tailored to satisfy TSA concerns,” according to the Herald. Steve Lott, spokesman for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which supports the program, told the Herald, “The TSA wanted to make sure that there were no security risks about somebody dropping something bad on a security belt and walking away.”

In other countries, passengers are able to check their bags, print their tags, and drop off their luggage without interacting with a single airline employee.

Readers, do you think tag-your-own-bag is a good idea? Or do you think it would be a good idea if it were truly self-service?

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