We shop for flights on our laptop, book hotels on our tablet, and have a QR code boarding pass on our smartphone. So why are we still walking up to the ticket counter to get a printed sticker when we check our bags? British Airways and Designworks asked the same question and think it’s time for the luggage tag to evolve.
Next month, the airline and design firm will begin testing a reusable, e-ink luggage tag that connects with your smartphone. Using NFC, the app will beam your flight information to the tag, displaying your destination and a barcode on the e-paper screen. There’s no GPS-tracking, but the display is compatible with existing luggage scanners, so there’s no need to update the existing infrastructure at airports.
BA employees will be testing the tags during a three-month trial before the airline rolls out the system to its passengers next year. However, NFC will likely be ditched in favor of Bluetooth so the system is compatible with all smartphones that run BA’s app. And the airline estimates that travelers using the tag will be able to have their bags dropped off and checked in less than a minute.