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23rd November, 2017  

7 Digital Reforms to Put Luggage Loss Days to End

By Balraj Kaur


So I’ve have taken a short break from work & planned on traveling with my friends to this amazing skiing destination in the Alps. Christmas in the mountains it is and bet it won’t get any merrier! Stunning peaks, awesome scenery & of course freezingly cold it is going to be there. But I think, I’ve packed well for this snow-sure destination. Arsenal of layers – check, skiing gear – check, personal care – check-check.

It all seemed so perfect in my mind, till it goes off thinking, what if, something bad happens during the flight! What if, the baggage goes missing? Well, after it had happened to my friend last year, I can’t help but imagine it happening to me (every single darn time I have to travel).

But what are the odds of that? Well, this report from the US Dept of Transportation, says, 2.5 per thousand passengers.

Losing luggage during travel is one of the traveler’s worst nightmare. It happens to hundreds of passengers every day, and these statistics are just adding to it.

Thankfully, the US Dept of Transportation is laying down laws on what should happen when you reach your destination, but your luggage doesn’t. Unfortunately, it still varies widely depending on each airline & specific situation.

To help navigate these tricky waters, I’m compiling down a list of digital reforms airline companies can bring in to force when the luggage goes missing.

  1. RFID-enabled Tags

These RFID tags will make sure the luggage boards the same flight as the flyer! Today when a customer misses his or her connection, airline’s staff on the ground manually scans each bag to find the customer’s luggage and ensure it is re-tagged for the new flight. With RFID scanners, agents have the ability to take inventory quickly or pinpoint a single bag.

  1. App to the Rescue

To cut the chaos, airline’s authorities can have flight tracker Application. An App meant to fetch details regarding the flights in the air, boarding passengers, and other essential information. Not just to enable the ground crew with regular updates but also with helpful alerts if something goes wrong or perhaps, missing. It’ll not only stabilize the situation but, help fasten the process. This requires data capture, management and sharing across airlines, airports and ground handlers giving a better view of where each piece of luggage is at every stage.

  1. Get Luggage Pick up Alert Upon Landing

Maybe you’re distracted by an urgent text upon landing at home and head straight for a taxi. Maybe you’re weighed down with heavy carry-on bags and forget you checked one more. Or perhaps you’re a tad buzzed from in-flight cocktails. Whatever the reason, you walk straight past the carousel and leave the airport without collecting your generic black roller bag (with no I.D. tag, natch), and don’t realize it until you’ve arrived at home.

  1. Self-Help

It is a retrofit solution that can allow passengers to check-in their luggage with or without a pre-tagged bag. Passengers will do their part to improve the baggage handling process, by helping themselves to baggage drop solutions. This way, passengers traveling with luggage will head straight to self-service machines avoiding check-in desk queues.

  1. Tech to Tackle

Introducing Beumer Group’s video coding system (VCS), which uses similar software that is widely used in the parcel industry, and automatic tag reader (ATR) cameras within the baggage-handling system to solve the problem of no-read tags. When a no-read baggage tag occurs, an image is sent to an operator who will choose the best pictures for viewing and encode the information remotely via a workstation or tablet.

  1. Talking Baggage

Luggage is unlikely to phone home when gets lost, but it will come very close—by sending text messages or app notifications. The looming June 2018 deadline for IATA’s Baggage Tracking Resolution 753 has helped motivate airlines to review new baggage tracking solutions, which will allow live tracing of bags throughout the journey, including live updates to passenger mobile devices.

  1. Chat Bots

At present, if an airline loses my luggage, I go to the airline desk. I register and tell them what happened, and they say: ‘OK go to this website and type in this number’. This seems like a time taking process. And then I think, instead of needing to download an app or go to a website to track this, why can’t I just get on Slack and say ‘Can you let me know where my bag is?’ or even for that bot to reach out to me and say ‘Hi, by the way, here’s the latest progress’. Slack is just one example – the customer could choose to have this interaction via SMS, Skype or any other digital channels.

It’s distressing for passengers and airlines when the bags go missing. But the times of not knowing where your luggage is will soon be over. Delta has already started deploying RFID technology to fix the issue. Providing customers with improved real-time tracking of luggage throughout the travel experience. However, with the cost involved, it might not get adopted by every airline out there.

Smarter, faster & cheaper design solutions like chatbots or internal applications can also be brought into action to curb issues of baggage loss. Soon airlines will be adopting the best version of the technology to help keep the valuable luggage safe and traceable in future. Because all passengers want is to fly – with no baggage of the past attached.


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