News: BA TAG – the electronic baggage tag tried & tested plus new Heathrow lounges for BA & Virgin?

British Airways Bag tag tried and tested

A few months ago BA launched an electronic bag tag which aims to replace paper tags. TAG is a reusable digital bag tag that connects your luggage to your smartphone.  You attach your personal TAG to your luggage before bag drop and link it with your BA app to ensure your details travel with your bag on its journey. TAG can be used over 3,000 times.

It’s not free and costs £63 + VAT (£76.23). So why would I want one? Well, firstly it is more environmentally friendly than paper tags. Secondly, it means I am not constantly having to peel those annoying stickers off my case and it can save time at check-in. Finally, all my tag details are stored in the app on my phone meaning I don’t have to try not to lose my luggage receipt.

The bag tag arrived within about a week of ordering and looked very simple in the box. All that was inside was the tag and what looked like the sim tool for an iPhone. There were very rudimental diagrams on the back of the box about how to attach the bag and a website address.

It was extremely simple to put the TAG on my bag. You just use the pin tool to open the tag, place it on the bag and then clip it shut. It took no more than a few seconds and seemed very robust. 

Next, you had to pair it with your app by scanning the QR code on the back of the TAG.

 

 

Next, I checked in online for my flight and then selected the TAG option to create a TAG.

The final step was to send the details to my TAG by pressing a button on the tag. And as if by magic it almost instantly appeared!

At Heathrow, it was slightly quicker than creating a paper tag. The check-in agent scanned my TAG and then showed me her screen to show it had paired with my booking. The only minor downside is that there is nothing to attach a priority sticker too. Since they are often of no use, I’m not too worried about his! My bag arrived in Paris with the TAG in one piece. I’m a happy TAG user now!

TAG works with both the iOS and Android mobile apps. For future flights, I now will just have to check-in for my flight and select the ‘Update TAG’ option.

You can see more in this video.

The special introductory offer to buy TAG has been extended with a reduced price of £63. From January 2020 the standard price will be £80.

You can find the official BA page to purchase the TAGs here.

 

New lounge for BA and refurb for Virgin at Heathrow?

BA T5 Galleries Club lounge review

BA T5 Galleries lounges entrance

BA have said for quite a long time that a refurbishment is on the cards for its Heathrow lounges. One of the main issues is the crowding of the Galleries Club and First lounges (apart from the hideous NHS style toilets). Although BA fly from all three terminals at T5, only A and B have a lounge. Originally you used to get money to spend in T5C in lieu of a lounge but now you are just expected to use one of the others. This is annoying if you get to the gate to find boarding is delayed. 

According to God Save the Points, BA are finalising designs to build a lounge at T5C. This would make sense to ease the overcrowding and also help them move people around if they were to close other lounges as they refurbished them. You can read my guide to the current BA T5 lounges here.

Virgin Clubhouse heathrow review

Virgin Clubhouse Heathrow

The Virgin Clubhouse is my favourite business class lounge at Heathrow – from spa treatments and blow drys to table service and cocktails by Dandelyan, what’s not to love? Given that it is now 10 years old and has only had one refurbishment in its lifetime, it still looks pretty good. However, rumour has it that Virgin may be about to give it another facelift concentrating on the dining and spa areas this time. Hopefully, they will make the rooms a little more soundproof in the spa, as that’s pretty much my only complaint!

 

20 Comments on "News: BA TAG – the electronic baggage tag tried & tested plus new Heathrow lounges for BA & Virgin?"

  1. Presumably the electronic TAG screen could show a priority band, or colour, since it knows your booking details and status – but as you say, priority tags never seem to actually achieve anything. I wonder if these will ever work with airlines, or airports, which insist on putting additional mini stickers all over your bags?

    I also wonder how ‘environmentally friendly’ these things really are – the cost and materials used in the manufacture (and the smartphone power from a dirty old coal-fired power station!) vs the negligible impact of a paper tag – although I guess they are reinforced with some sort of plastic. And of course, you will only get 3000 uses if it doesn’t get lost somewhere along the way 😉

  2. It does show priority, and it is deployed into most airport baggage systems, not airlines (I was first person to use our of Budapest and no problems apart from fascinated staff queuing up to look). I still ask for an orange label though.

    I have found the only concern is that it retains last ‘imprint’ of flight and it is difficult to erase or reset this. It means you are left with a big bar code displaying where your next flight may not be tag – eligible (eg from LCY). You either have to remove the whole unit or unpair the drive which is a drag.

    Just to be clear: there is no RFID or real-time location other than standard passing through baggage barcode checkpoints. BA suggest ‘smart’ tracking will follow.

  3. I’ve also used the TAG since they first came out in July. I order 2 only to discover that currently you can only use 1 TAG at a time. Apparently multi-tag use is still to come

  4. Interesting read! So happy that it actually works from LHR, albeit may cause issues from some airports elsewhere. So if it gets damaged does BA replace it free of cost?

    • That’s a good question. I would expect so as they do repair or replace damaged luggage. But only if you are on a BA flight.

  5. I’d be interested to hear how robust the TAG is. The BA site says that it connects similarly to traditional baggage tags, but I regularly have these torn off by the mechanised handling systems. Presumably, BA have subjected the unit to rigorous testing but the site is silent on that.

    • It is definitely much more robust from what I can see. It is very strong material and it can only be removed using something like the special tool.

  6. Good article. I had one from the get go, and my experiences of it have been ok. I’m still terrified that if it detaches, breaks, is removed, then my luggage is ‘on its own’ and potentially lost so for the first couple of trips i asked for a paper tag too, just to see what state it arrived in, at destination. OMG that caused no end of problems. Apparently the barcode on TAG is fixed at the point of uploading so when you ask for a paper tag, it can’t be re-printed and a new one has to be generated. This had the check in agent off speaking to a manager and big debate over whether i would be allowed one as essentially i was flying with 2 locators on 1 piece of luggage!.. They eventually agreed but only after 20 mins of sucking teeth and telling me it wasn’t policy.

    I’m not sure i will ever trust it fully to still be there at the other end. It sticks out A LOT and baggage handlers are not known for their care. I would feel a lot happier with a personal internal locator “Just in case”

  7. Which tracker do you use and can you recommend ?

  8. Surely this will only work if the BA app is correctly up to date. Recently I had about thirty flights booked and their app just couldn’t handle it. I have since flown most of those flights and have booked more and the app still bears no resemblance to my future travels. In fact I am flying tomorrow but the app doesn’t seem to realise I am!

  9. Like Geoff I wonder about the real green credentials of something like this. That aside, I’m sure the underlying reason people really want it is they just really want it. That’s fine, but I think the price and problems mean it’s a long way from any sort of wide-scale acceptance.

  10. What a waste of money. Might be ok for a real business user, but part of the point of paying for Business class is the extra baggage. I agree priority stickers don’t always work but they certainly won’t if you don’t have one.

  11. Claire Faulkner | 13 November 2019 at 7:36 pm | Reply

    So if you are Holidaying as a family each family member will need their own tag. And if you have more than one case each, that will make it quite expensive.

  12. I’m a little intrigued about the process flow with one of these… normally, the paper tag is issued at check-in and when the case is being weighed. Does this mean the case skips being weighed?

  13. If you use an automatic baggage drop it still weighs it sadly!

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