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nov 08 2010

You may be tagging your own bags soon

(Courtesy alex-s/Flickr) Airlines already give travelers an option of using kiosks to print boarding passes. But now fliers will be encouraged to print their own luggage tags, too.)

This month, Boston's Logan airport will be the first in the nation to ask passengers to tag their own bags. On some flights on American Airlines and Air Canada, passengers will be encouraged to use kiosks to print their own luggage routing tags. Delta plans to test the same service, but it hasn't yet announced at which airport.

Here's how it will work: You'll go to a kiosk and print your boarding pass and luggage tag at the same time. Then you'll go to a counter agent, who will check your ID, scan the tag to confirm it's legit, and place your bag on a conveyor belt. X-ray screening then takes place behind the scenes.

You still have to see an official, so it's not clear to me how this saves time for fliers. In Europe and Canada, do-it-yourself passenger bag tagging is already common. At some airports, kiosks can even scan passports to authenticate IDs, making counter agents unnecessary.

Passenger bag tagging should shorten the line for checking in. The airlines usually don't have enough staff to handle the traffic at peak times as it is.

No word yet on whether airlines will soon start charging a $10 tagging fee unless you screen your bags yourself and then load them into the plane's hold.

'Tag your own' luggage plans [Boston Herald]

Airlines may test do-it-yourself traveler bag tagging [USA Today]

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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