British Airways is trialling electronic luggage tags that are automatically updated by passengers using NFC or Bluetooth on their smartphone as part of a £5bn investment in its services over the next five years.
Fliers check in using the BA app and then hold their phone over the tag, which then updates after five to 10 seconds, to show a barcode detailing flight arrangements and the bag’s destination. This is then scanned at the bag drop.
A BA spokesperson said they intend to sell the tags, which are best suited to frequent fliers who are keen to move quickly through the airport. While collecting a paper luggage tag can take around three and a half minutes, this takes just 35 seconds, the airline said.
The first trial will begin in July and last for three months, followed by further tests on short haul and domestic flights, with a view to launching fully in 2014. The electronic tags have been developed by British Airways with Densitron Displays and Designworks Windsor. Heathrow Airport is helping with the trials.
Don’t miss a call on the runway
British Airways has also announced that it will allow its customers to switch on mobile devices more quickly than ever before after landing.
After clearing this with the Civil Aviation Authority, tablets, smartphones and eReaders can now be used as soon as the aircraft has left the runway. Previously, people had to wait until the plane had stopped.
This change in policy will come into force on 1 July, no matter where the BA flight is landing.