Friday, September 9, 2011

Lost Luggage May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

Daily Mail: Those niggling fears about losing your luggage when flying off for a holiday could soon be just a distant memory.

Two IT travel companies have joined forces to create the technology to enable travelers to track their baggage using mobile phones and social media sites.

IT firm Amadeus is working with airline technology company SITA to improve baggage tracking capabilities. As early as next year, airline passengers could be able to check on their luggage anywhere in the world in real time.

A sophisticated tagging method will be available on passengers' own handheld devices, designed to track luggage from the minute a bag is checked in to when it arrives on the conveyor belt at the other end. Amadeus says the partnership aims to reduce the loss or delayed arrival of suitcases - 29 million were lost in 2010 - and is due to be launched in 54 airports worldwide.

SITA’s BagMessage system is already used by air carriers and airports globally but the service is expected to be rolled out to enable passengers to personally keep a close track on their luggage. ‘In the future, passengers will get real-time updates on their luggage when SITA’s technology is used,’ said a SITA Airport Solutions spokesman.

Losing baggage is often cited as one of the most frustrating areas of travelling. A recent survey from JD Power found that over 34 per cent of passengers had experienced baggage issues on recent flights. The survey also found that 37 per cent of travellers said they would like to use their mobile phone to receive real-time baggage arrival updates.

Many airlines and airports are working on streamlining the collection experience. KLM and Qantas are two airlines which have implemented baggage-drop schemes in which passengers can tag and drop their own baggage. Bermuda's LF Wade International airport recently became the first in the world to introduce a computer to deal with lost luggage enquiries instead of a human.

IATA has outlined a £0.75billion savings target for 2012 to be achieved using self-service baggage tagging and the development of baggage tracking solutions.

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