The lines start the moment you arrive at the airport. First the ticket counter, then security, then Starbucks, then the bathroom, then the gate. One line after another, it’s enough to make you want to take a boat or a train.
But you have to give credit to airlines for at least a little sympathy. Ok, they’re actually cutting costs, but it turns out to be a big time and hassle saver for tech savvy travelers.
They started a few years ago by letting us print our own boarding passes. That saved a ton of time if you travel with a carry-on only. But now a number of airlines are also letting you print your own luggage tags. They’re not the long ones with adhesives, naturally. You use standard 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper, print the tags complete with bar code, and insert them into the re-usable self printed luggage tag holder that your airline supplies either at their luggage counter or by ordering them from the airline’s website.
Alaska Airlines is pioneering this time saving service in the US, but many European and Asian carriers are offering the service as well. With your self printed luggage tag, and self printed or smart phone boarding pass, you can drop your bag at your airline’s luggage counter, and go straight to security, bypassing at least one, maybe two, lines.
There’s an interesting article at Future Travel Experience if you’d like to read more. I’ve come to love this service, saves a ton of hassle at the airport. If it guaranteed TSA Pre-Check status, I’d buy a ticket to somewhere right this minute.