British Airways begins customer trials on the digital bag tag

British Airways (BA) has begun customer trials of the personalised digital bag tag developed by the airline, at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5.

Employees from Microsoft are monitoring the month-long trial by using a specially adapted version of the British Airways app for all necessary feedback to help in the design of the final product. The tag has already been tested comprehensively to ensure that it works in a live airport environment and can withstand the meticulous airport baggage systems and everyday travel.

Glenn Morgan, British Airways’ head of service transformation, said: ‘The customer trials take us another step closer to making the personalised digital bag tag a reality for our customers. We’re grateful for Microsoft’s support during the trial, which will help us shape the future of checking in for flights.

‘British Airways has a long history of innovation. The digital bag tag is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to developing new technology and holds the promise of making checking in for flights even quicker and smoother.’

Anand Krishnan, general manager, developer and platform group, Microsoft Ltd, said: ‘Working with British Airways to help shape the future of one of the company’s key customer experiences is something we’re very proud to be involved in.’

Customers involved in the trial will use their Nokia Lumia Windows Phone to check in, choose their seat and obtain their mobile boarding pass. Each will be equipped with the British Airways app, which automatically updates the digital bag tag with a unique barcode that contains the new flight details and the bag’s destination, just by holding the mobile phone over it.

The digital bag tag, which will eventually do away with the need for a new paper tag each time one flies, has a battery life of up to five years and will be compatible with all smartphones. It has been specially developed by British Airways, in partnership with Densitron Displays, and Designworks Windsor.

The development of the personalised tag is part of a wider strategy by British Airways to improve the customer experience through the airport, making it quicker, smoother and easier. British Airways is investing more than GBP5bn in new aircraft, smarter cabins, elegant lounges, and new technologies that are intended to make air travel more comfortable for passengers.