Waiting to check-in at the airport is up there with sitting through an eight-hour budget meeting, as one of the most boring ways to waste time. Thankfully, one of the latest ideas to hit air travel – permanent bag tags – could soon reduce the waiting time to nil. New York-based One Bag Tag is zeroing in on this trend and hoping that its permanent luggage tag will be the only one that travellers will ever need.
Of course, the company is not the first one to come up with this product – nor is it likely to be the last. Airlines such as British Airways, KLM and Qantas have come up with their own permanent e-tags that allow passengers to skip the airport check-in process, update their travel information and drop their luggage off upon arrival. Even suitcase companies like Rimowa and Samsonite have gotten in on the action by integrating smart tags into their bags, with the latter's doubling up as an anti-theft device. So how does One Bag Tag measure up to the current competition?
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In a nutshell, the tag is basically an amalgamation of all the smart features that are increasingly becoming a must-have in today's luggage. This means it comes with the requisite Bluetooth, GPS and RFID technologies for tracking and keeping up-to-date with a suitcase's whereabouts. The accompanying smartphone app also lets users store a photo of their suitcase together with details of its attributes to make it easier to describe their luggage to airport authorities if there's ever a need to do so. Finally, the tag also doubles up as a luggage scale, which is always a useful thing to have on hand.
According to the company's website, the tag is already linked with 500 airports worldwide and is compatible with all airport check-in systems.
Will e-tags be as ubiquitous as travel adaptors in the future? There's a good chance that they might, given how airlines are looking to improve the efficiency of the bag-handling process. Losing a traveler's luggage not only makes them look bad, it's also no good for their bottom line as they have to recover it or compensate the passenger if it can't be found, both of which cost money. Also, thanks to a new law passed in the US earlier this year, airlines now have to refund baggage fees for delayed baggage 12 hours after a domestic flight arrival and 15 hours after an international one. Hence the reason airlines are so invested in reducing their lost luggage rates.
The question in this case is whether the One Bag Tag has what it takes to corner a share of the market. Two things stand in its way: firstly, it is still early days for this technology and despite the company's claims to be accepted universally across all continents, not every airline has embraced it yet. For example, while Transport Canada recently announced a new e-Tag initiative aimed at speeding up the airport check-in process, national carriers such as WestJet and Air Canada have said it would take a while for e-tagging to become a reality.
Secondly, what's to stop other companies from replicating its features and functions once e-tagging becomes commonplace?
We've already reached out to the company for comments. So far there's no word yet on when the One Bag Tag is expected to launch or what its retail price is likely to be. In the meantime, check out this 60-second video on how the tag works:
Source: One Bag TagView gallery - 2 images