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British Airways Tests Electronic Bag Tag to Cut Waits

British Airways will start testing an electronic baggage tag to speed passenger check-in times and eliminate the need to print out a paper versions.

The suitcase tag contains information such as the destination airport, and passengers that have checked in can hold their smartphone over the tag to display flight information. The tag is then scanned where bags are dropped off.

British Airways estimates the new system can cut baggage drop-off times to about 35 seconds from the 3 minutes it routinely takes now. Airlines have been looking to cut costs and speed the processing of passengers through services such as online check-in with boarding passes displayed on smartphones.

Paper tickets will still be offered, although the electronic tag is designed to require only a hand-held scanner so the service can be provided at any airport, said Michael Johnson, a spokesman for the London-based carrier. The tags will be usable only on BA flights, he said.

(Company corrects tag usage on other carriers in fourth paragraph)

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