According to the BBC, British Airways have announced plans to test reusable luggage tags that are made from electronic paper.
The tag can have flight information transmitted to it via the ticket holder’s smartphone. Once the ticketholder completes digital check-in data is shared to the electronic luggage tag via the airline app.
At the moment, operators print off individual paper tags for every bag checked in before each flight.
Electronic tags are being tested by staff before being made available for passenger testing later in the year. If these tests are successful, the tags will then launch in 2014.
Despite various attempts to try and speed up the airport check-in procedure, the process of dropping off luggage had still remained time consuming, a British Airways representative told the BBC.
“The old security questions such as, ‘Did you pack your back yourself?’ are no longer a legal requirement, but the idea of queuing to check in your bag has never gone away,” he said.
“The e-tag still involves going to a desk, but you literally just drop you bag off and someone has a scanner.”
Customers at some airports can now print out their own luggage tags at kiosks, but that still requires more time, and paper, than scanning the information direct from their phone.
“[The e-tag] is more expensive, but ultimately it is re-usable – you would acquire and use it multiple times,” said Lewis Freeman, an industrial designer from Designworks, which worked on the electronic tag casing.
“The life of the product is up to five years. I imagine technology would move on faster than the tag would need replacing.”