Soon it will be easier than ever to keep track of your luggage while traveling, at least if you are flying on British Airways. The airline is partnering with Designworks, a product design consultancy, to create a smart luggage tag that uses e-ink to automatically update your flight information. According to GigaOM, travelers checking in for their flight will hold their smartphone over the tag, which will then update the screen with a unique barcode and flight information.
E-ink is the type of technology that is used in some reading devices, such as Amazon’s Kindle. The screen isn’t reflective, thus leading to text that is more crisp, with no glare. This makes the screen easier to read from and makes it look more like paper.
Reducing Waste and Mishaps
British Airways is hoping that this type of technology will reduce waste, as it will eliminate the need for paper tags that are new every time a traveler flies. Printed by the airline staff each time a traveler is checking in for their flight, these paper tags usually display the luggage owner’s last name, their flight, and a unique barcode that allows airline employees to scan the bag to better track its whereabouts. This same system has been used for several decades.
With the new “smart” luggage tag tracking the same information in a digital format, there are new opportunities to apply evolving technology to make traveling via air much easier and less prone to mishaps. The tags will not only cut down on waste, but will also be reusable, relieving travelers of worries about removing old tags or having their private travel information displayed. The digital tag may also be more durable than a paper one, thus helping to prevent smeared information that can’t be read.
Eventually, the luggage tag could contain additional features that could allow for the tracking of each bag. This could help tremendously for tracking down lost luggage. If these tags could be automatically scanned each time they passed a certain checkpoint in each airport, or if they were equipped with GPS tracking capabilities, the days of losing luggage on vacation or while overseas are surely long gone.
While these luggage tags certainly can’t quiet down the screaming baby next to you on a 12-hour flight or bring you free mimosas, the ability to better track your travel itinerary and bags with your smartphone may give us all a little more peace of mind.