American tests "tag-your-own-bag" system at Austin's airport

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Be your own travel agent, print your own boarding pass, pack your own snack — airlines practically invented self-service. Now American Airlines is testing a tag-your-own-bag system in Austin. Call it TYOB.

American will still make passengers show identification before they can lug their bags up onto the conveyor belt.

It's not the first time airlines have tried to do put fliers to work. Alaska Airlinesexperimented with having customers print labels for their own bags before the security scares of the past decade.

Last November, Budget Travelpredicted that airlines would try to roll out this new service. Here were some reader reactions back then:

• It's just another way for us to lose jobs and give less service! —Brenda

• I do wonder how this saves time. What about the people that just can't get it right and screw up tagging their bags? —Al

• It must be nice for the employees since they don't have to lift heavy suitcases any more. —Rick

• They will soon be asking which passenger has a pilots licence and making us fly the plane ourselves. —Kris

• Ah, yes: the "Greyhoundization" of the less-friendlier skies. —George

Talk about flying on "autopilot." If it's a success at cutting costs, other airlines are likely to adopt this tag-your-own bag process, too.

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