Over the past year I have had so many people complain about lost luggage.
Why can’t the airlines do a better job? Why does it take so long to find them. Is there no way that bags can be easier tracked by the airlines?
These are the questions that frustrated travellers ask me.
Today there exists at least a partial solution.
There are vastly improved methods in place and one
airline in the United States actually offers clients an app from which they can
track their own bags.
Just a month ago, US Airways offered customers the same information they use
themselves to keep tabs on the thousands of bags that pass through their hands
This technology was first offered by Delta Airlines, the carrier that
connects Manitobans to routes throughout the United States and the world via
The basic tracking mechanism works something like this. When you check in,
your bags are scanned. Then they are scanned a second time when they are loaded
on the aircraft and a third time when they are off-loaded.
By uploading the app available now from both of these airlines, you can check
your bags in real time anytime you are on the ground, either before or after
your flight. Since Internet usage is still not allowed in flight, you are not
able to check to see if your bags got on the plane once you are instructed to
power down your smartphone or iPad appliance.
However, should your bags not appear you can easily check to find out what
has happened to them, in the same manner the carriers will.
Delta spokespeople say this free app is currently being employed by about
6,000 people a day. Since so many airports now offer free Wi-Fi, it’s really
easy for consumers to check on the location of their bags.
In 2011, US Airways reported a 20 per cent improvement in their lost-bags
performance with a mishandling ratio of 2.14 per 1,000 bags. This put them in
the fifth-best position in the U.S.
There is not yet co-operation between air carriers, so once your bag is
transferred to a different airline you have no access to the information. But
this tracking mechanism, available to all of us, is a vast improvement in a
department that has seen so much consumer anger and frustration.
The next step the two airlines are independently exploring is a way to inform
travellers by email about bags that have been mishandled, letting them know the
current location of their bags and when they can expect to receive them.
Anyone who has had to make countless calls to find out when their lost
luggage is going to arrive will applaud that breakthrough.
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