The scariest part of air travel for me has always been the fear of losing my luggage either through theft, negligence on my part (and sometimes on the part of the airline) or an accidental tagging that lands my luggage in a flight different from the one I am travelling in.
These fears may soon be a thing of the past if a new state-of-the-art technology, being developed by two IT companies, sails through.
Amadeus and SITA are working together to develop a baggage tagging and tracking solution which will enable travellers to track their luggage from the comfort of their mobile phones and social media sites.
SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and Information Technology (IT) solutions, is working closely with the air transport community to innovate and develop IT applications and communication services across every aspect of the business. Amadeus, on the other hand, is a market leader in travel technology for the travel industry, providing marketing, distribution and IT services worldwide.
Working with a release time of early 2012, the mobile bag tracking system, which is targeted to be launched in 54 airports worldwide, will enable travellers to check on their luggage anywhere in the world in real-time.
The system begins to track luggage from the minute it is checked in to when it arrives at the conveyor belt on the other side hence reducing the risk of loss and delays in the arrival of luggage.
The system will give travellers more control over their baggage than current tracking systems are able to because it allows them to personally monitor their baggage in real-time.
Baggage loss is a growing concern among passengers who travel by air. According to SITA, more than 29 million pieces of luggage were reported lost, stolen, damaged or delayed. This represents a 6% increase from the previous year.
Reasons Bags Are Delayed in Airports (2011)
A study by JD Power, a global marketing information services company providing customer satisfaction research, market research, automotive forecasting, social media research, and performance improvement programs, found that over 34% of passengers had experienced baggage issues on recent flights.
The study also found out that 37% of travellers are more than willing to receive real-time updates of their baggage location from their mobile handsets.
This presents a ripe opportunity for airlines to embrace the concept of self-service baggage tagging through the development of tracking solutions such as this. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) is already targeting a £0.75 billion saving by 2012 with the use of this technology.
Any ideas on when we might hear of a Kenyan mobile bag tracking solution? It will certainly make me feel more comfortable knowing that my baggage is that much safer!