American Airlines passengers at Washington Reagan will now be able to tag their own bags. With the self-service option, passengers will be able to select the number of bags they are checking, pay the baggage fees and print out their baggage tags when they check-in for their flight at an airline kiosk. After placing the tags on their luggage, they can leave their bags with an agent who will take them after scanning their boarding pass and verifying identity.
American Airlines introduced self-service baggage tagging in Austin last year and the system has now been expanded to Orlando and Washington Reagan. The DIY option will be introduced to Chicago and Dallas-Fort Worth later this spring and to Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York JFK, San Francisco and St. Louis in 2013.
Bottom line: Alaska Airlines introduced a self-tagging baggage procedure in Seattle last year and Delta and Southwest have tested similar systems. American Airlines is expanding their self-tagging system to several airports so you may be able to skip the check-in counter and tag your own bags soon. While some customers may prefer interacting with an agent, DIY bagging can speed up the check-in process and soon self-tagging for bags may become as common as check-in kiosks.