LUFTHANSA and Rimowa have recently introduced a new innovation that seeks to make it easier than ever to manage your checked luggage.   Rather than having to deal with checking bags at the airport and needing check-in agents to affix luggage tags (which means standing in lines), you’ll be able to download  your baggage tag from your smart phone and transmit it directly to a display on your suitcase.

The Rimowa Electronic Tag  is a small display screen that is embedded near the handle of a suitcase and will display the same information as a conventional bag tag.   Included in the display will be things such as priority designation for your luggage (if applicable), along with any customs requirements such as the ‘Green Strip’ that is printed on bag tags for luggage on flights leaving the EU.

 

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The display screen will show all of the data that a conventional paper tag would contain. Courtesy: Rimowa

 

The really slick feature of the tag will be how information is transmitted to the luggage.    When you check in to your Lufthansa flight via the website or the app, you’ll receive your mobile boarding passes which will also include your baggage data.   Then, by using Bluetooth feature on your smartphone, you’ll be able to transmit the bag tag info to the suitcase which will then display the tag.    The display itself is about the same size as a paper bag tag, so what you will see will be nearly identical to a paper tag, except it will be on a digital screen.   According to Rimowa, the display is from E Ink Mobius and is weather, temperature, moisture and shock resistant.

 

Now before you start asking too many questions, I only have a few answers.

As far as security is concerned, your phone will be paired to the suitcase, so only your phone will be able to communicate with the bag.  No one else’s phone will be able to connect to your electronic tag.

Battery Life?  I don’t know.   Of the several releases that I’ve read from LH and Rimowa, nothing suggested what the battery life would be.   I would assume it would be a very long battery life and hopefully with easy recharging ability.  If some one knows the answer, please leave a comment!

The bag will work when connecting to flights operated by non-Lufthansa airlines since the bar codes will be on display and scannable.  However, the baggage tag must originate from Lufthansa.     The only issue that could exist is how individual airports handle baggage drops for luggage that has already been ‘tagged’.    Lufthansa in Germany already has baggage drop kiosks in airports so it should not be a problem for bags being checked in from Germany.    Your experiences may vary based on the airports you transit.

The Rimowa Electronic Tag will only work with Lufthansa Group data.   Though other airlines are working with similar technology, the Rimowa E-tag will only be compatible with Lufthansa issued data.

What I also don’t know is what the contingency plan would be if all of a sudden the battery died, or if the display was damaged to a point that it was not readable.   I have my doubts that baggage handlers would have any way to pull the data on the tag.

For the next 3 months, LUFTHANSA has asked 50 of their most frequent travelers to test the baggage tag and provide feedback to Rimowa to fine tune the final product.  If all goes to plan, we should see the Electronic Tags on RIMOWA luggage beginning in the first quarter of 2016.

Looks like my 747-8i Rimowa is at risk of an early retirement….