BA plays tag with digital trial

16 Oct 2013

British Airways has begun trials of its personalised digital bag tag among passengers travelling through Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

BA’s guinea pigs are Microsoft employees who are using the tags for a month in conjunction with a specially adapted version of the BA app that will help shape the final product.

The airline hopes that the tag, which contains all a passenger’s baggage details, could dispense with frequent fliers’ need to use a paper tag each time they travel. An initial test has proved the tag’s hardiness when combatting rough treatment at the airport and only the software now remains to be proved.

The trial participants will use Windows phones to check in, choose their seat and obtain boarding passes. The phone gives the tag a new barcode for each flight that contains details of the bag’s destination. This can be read by holding the phone over it. The trial is with Windows, but all platforms will be able to use the final version.

Glenn Morgan, British Airways’ head of service transformation, said the system would help shape the future of check-in: “The customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalised digital bag tag a reality for our customers,” he said.

Passengers will have to wait a while before the system is introduced, however. BA says it will be “late next year” before it is made available to Executive Club members.

Gary Noakes

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