Alaska Airlines introduces Scan and Fly

If you have ever impatiently waited in line to check your bags at the airport, then this will be great news for you.
We usually don’t have to wait in line at all when checking in at SEA (or any other airport, really) thanks to our MVP Gold 75K status with Alaska Airlines, but for everyone who doesn’t have any status, this could be a really good improvement.

Alaska Self Bag Drop, from

Alaska Self Bag Drop, from

Alaska Airlines just announced they will be conducting a pilot program in LAX called ‘Scan and Fly’, in which passengers can check their own bags without interacting with another human. The program will run for the next two months, and it will enable passengers to normally checkin online as they would in the past, as well as printing their own bag tags either at home or one of the airport kiosks. Then they will proceed to show their IDs to an agent and via the use of touch screen terminals, passengers will be prompted for some information. Alaska Airlines reported that each interaction has been timed to last about 30 seconds per bag.

As I mentioned before, great news for anyone who unlike us, has no status. Also, great news for anyone who, like us, has status. They’re promising not to reduce the amount of agents for those of us who like interacting with them in a more analog way. Also, one would hope that those who do not want to interact with actual humans (millennials, one would think?) will no longer be crowding the lines so it sounds like it’s a win-win for everyone.

Alaska is well known for being innovative and pioneering new technologies. They tested electronic bag tags not too long ago, and – according to their own press release – they were ‘the first US carrier to sell

tickets online and allow customers to check-in online’, which I did not know. I wouldn’t expect any less from a company that draws talent and innovation ideas from the Seattle brain pool.

Alaska Beyond

Alaska Beyond

Hopefully this pilot program works for them (and us passengers!) and things like these are quickly rolled out to other major airports where a lot more people can benefit from, just like other programs have been.

Will you be going through LAX on Alaska Airlines from now till November? Are you opting for the human or the digital experience?

Author: Ben Nickel-D'Andrea

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  1. Not exactly innovative. Qantas has been doing this for years for domestic flights. Drop your bag on a belt, which weighs it and automatically scans the tag before sending it on the belt.

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    • True. I guess he was right.

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