The luggage that will never be lost
Published 14/06/2013 | 09:20
It is the ultimate dream of every airline passenger, the bag that will never be lost.
Airbus, the aircraft manufacturer, has helped develop technology which could eliminate the problem of missing baggage, which costs the aviation industry nearly €2.34 billion a year.
According to the latest industry figures around four pieces of luggage will be lost on the average Boeing 747 flight.
Passengers are at greatest risk when changing flights especially if the connection time is short.
One of the major reasons for luggage being lost is when the paper tags carrying the bar code are ripped off as cases are shunted along conveyor belts to the aircraft.
It was this which led to the loss of thousands of bags by British Airways following the chaotic opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 in March 2008.
The prototype technology, known as Bag2go, entails embedding a satellite tracker and a bar code display onto the suitcase.
Using a smartphone, the passenger sends details of the flight to the airline which in turn sends back a bar code which is shown on the display unit of the case.
Each bar code is unique carrying details of the traveller, flight and destination.
A passenger can, shortly after boarding the aircraft, check that the bag is in the hold and alert the flight crew if it is not there.
Should the bag be loaded onto the wrong aircraft the combination of satellite technology and the
bar code means that it will be easily traced.
It will enable the case to be re-routed to the correct destination enabling the luggage to be returned to its rightful owner.
At the same time the passenger can keep track of the bag with the help of a mobile phone application.
The app has a number of functions. It alerts a passenger if somebody tries to tamper with the luggage.
The ability to detect when a bag is being opened or tampered with will provide further security against theft while the bag is in transit.
Last year Kim Kardashian, the American television reality personality, took to twitter to complain that a pair of sunglasses had been stolen from her luggage as she passed from Nice to Los Angeles via Heathrow.
The technology is still being developed by Airbus, T-Systems – a telecommunications company and RIMOWA, a suitcase manufacturer.
Passengers will be able to buy the bags or though renting them is another possibility with the business model also considering allowing the bags to travel independently from the holidaymakers home to hotel.