Airline luggage tracking goes viral

One of the recent trends in the travel industry has quite possibly been an over-zealousness is investing in airline luggage tracking solutions. This trend has been a long time in the making, and we think there’s finally been an inflection point in the adoption curve leading to widespread implementations globally of new and innovative airline luggage tracking technology.

A potential reason as to why now is the time for airlines to begin widespread adoption of airline luggage tracking technology is due to the advances of the necessary and difficult precursor technology of self-service check-in. Automating the check-in and bag drop process is the first step in a long line of foundational advances necessary for comprehensive airline luggage tracking processes. Finally airports and airlines have adopted automated self-service check-in and bag drop counters in earnest, being the harbinger to a wave of technological and process transformation around the entire luggage management experience (both customer facing and internal to airports and airlines).

For example, Adelaide Airport recently has pledged to install new SITA self-service check-in and back drop kiosks. One of the reasons this is becoming easier for airlines is due to the standardization and growth of product offerings  by 3rd parties in the domain. SITA offers a product called AirportPulse, which is an airport operations technology, AirportPulse, that the Adelaide Airport has recently adopted. AirportPulse includes a business intelligence portal that offers end-to-end airport visibility at strategic and operational levels. According to Marisa Garcia (aka @designerjet), “It gathers data from all common-use infrastructure to analyze, report and benchmark passenger movements, and reports on relevant activities to help the airport better manage shared resources.” Technologies like these are necessary to lay a networked foundation of sensors, networks, analytics, and reporting that can work in tandem. Think internet of things for airports.

And the next frontier has shown to be airline luggage tracking. If you recall tripchi accurately predicted in early 2014 the need for this technology and the relative ease of implementation (if an airport or airline was willing to make the investment). We even participated in a hackathon to create a smart beacon solution called FlyBeacon for airlines to adopt.

Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon in Cambridge

Airline luggage tracking solutions go viral: Fly Beacon Pitch at Mash Hacks Hackathon

Companies like SITA has developers software suites like BagJourney that includes airline luggage tracking status updates vian API, delivered to many data clients like smartphone and tablet apps used by operations staff and consumers alike. Add in to the mix cheap and smart bag tags using RFID and it’s a match made in heaven. And it’s finally taking off.

Just doing a quick Google search for airline luggage tracking reveals that the tops airlines have already made investments in this technology, and making the information available to customers via their websites:

  • United. Here’s an example of what the online tracking application looks like:

    United - Airline luggage tracking

    United – Airline luggage tracking

  • Delta. Delta has again gone one step above its competitors as RFID will replace bar-code manual scanning as mentioned above. It handles 120 million bags annually, and this solution will ensure that the bags are tracked at a 99.9% success rate. You can read more about Delta’s airline luggage tracking solution here.
  • American also offers a similar online tracking solution as United.

We can’t wait to see what the future of technology offers airlines and airports alike to leapfrog the passenger and internal operations experience ahead. Keep an eye out this holiday season for new airline luggage tracking systems rolling out at an airport near you.

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Chandra is passionate about travel and technology....

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