British Airways is trialling an electronic bag tag that could mean the end of disposable paper tags for every flight.

The time-saving, not to mention environmentally-friendly, device is designed to be used by passengers when they check-in online.

After checking-in on the internet, customers then update the electronic tag by holding their smartphone over it.

BA bag tag

The tag will then be automatically programmed with a unique barcode containing flight details, including the destination.

Passengers will save time at the airport by having their electronic tag quickly scanned at the bag drop, before going straight through security. BA estimates that bag drop currently takes three minutes and that the electronic tag could reduce this to just 35 seconds.

The airline intends for the patent-pending hi-tech tag, which will initially be subjected to an internal trial before it is extended to a customer trial next year, to be used time and time again.

BA bag tag

Frank van der Post, BA managing director, brands and customer experience, said: “This is a fantastically simple, yet smart device that gives each customer the choice to have their own personalised electronic baggage tag that changes with the swipe of a smartphone – every time they fly.

“As the saying goes, ‘good things come in small packages’, and this innovative device is no exception. Along with other initiatives we are investing in, we believe it has the potential to revolutionise the way our customers check in and pass through every airport around the world in the future.”

The electronic tags have been specially developed by BA in partnership with Densitron Displays, and Designworks Windsor, while Heathrow Airport is providing help with the trials.

In other news, British Airways will unveil its A380 and B787 Dreamliner jets next week (see online news, June 10).

Graham Smith