The baggage experience: a lost opportunity?

Discover how Bluetooth tracking solutions can offer real-time information to both airlines and passengers to improve the baggage experience.
A passenger is at the airport, ready to check in his baggage.

Some background: the costs of mishandled luggage

Making passengers feel excited is key to their hearts. But it’s not always as easy as it seems.

The McKinsey’s 2023 loyalty survey showed that only 20 percent of travelers were delighted by a recent travel experience.

Cancellations and delays, for example, can be unpleasant. But there’s one defining aspect of the journey that etches itself into every traveler’s memory: 

Lost baggage.

Last year alone, a staggering 26 million pieces of luggage faced the unfortunate fate of being lost, delayed, or damaged. This makes almost eight bags in every 1,000. 

The costs for airlines are skyrocketing, with an average expense of $ 100 (!) per lost or mishandled bag. 

But it isn’t just about optimizing cost-efficiency. Baggage handling is also about embracing the opportunity to drive overall customer satisfaction.  

What passengers see and experience, especially in successful baggage handling, plays a pivotal role in shaping perceived airline values.

IATA Resolution 753: new standard demands new tech

Since 2018,  IATA and Airlines for America (A4A) member airlines have had to give information about baggage tracking. IATA identified four crucial stages of the handling process to track baggage: check-in, load, transfer, and arrival.

IATA Resolution 753: Mandatory tracking points

This industry standard should contribute to efficient baggage handling. In reality, the technology is not up-to-date yet to offer passengers the information they truly want.

Live baggage tracking information, for example, is not available to airlines or passengers. As they can’t follow their bag in real-time, it creates an information void about the baggage journey.

Technological challenges for accurate baggage tracking

Common baggage handling technologies include barcode scanning and RFID. However, these systems come with important limitations.

  • Barcode scanning: By reading information on baggage tags, traditional barcode scanning has been a longstanding technology in baggage handling. However, damaged or poorly positioned tags can easily cause errors with optical recognition. Also, keep in mind that tags are not reusable, and that bulk reading is not possible. The slow read speed poses yet another limitation for meeting today’s challenges.

  • RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification): RFID tags contain unique identifiers. With RFID readers, airlines get information about the baggage at various points in the handling process. RFID might have improved baggage tracking compared to traditional barcode systems, but it still faces challenges. Not all airlines and airports may have adopted RFID systems, leading to interoperability issues. Additionally, RFID alone does not provide the level of granularity required for detailed real-time tracking.

What are passengers doing to track their baggage?

As passengers notice the lack of live tracking information, they have turned to using their own Bluetooth tracking devices. Apple AirTags, for example, offer real-time data to passengers.  

These devices are excellent for personal item tracking due to the accurate Bluetooth network connectivity. However, they pose important challenges when applied to the airline industry. 

Apple has taken a clear stance on not wanting to share user data with airlines. This means there is a crucial missing link between passengers and airlines for effective collaboration.

So, even though AirTags might provide excellent location information, the lack of integration within the airline industry’s complex communication system remains a permanent hurdle. 

Passengers are getting increasingly frustrated with this data discrepancy. Some passengers even turn to social media in a desperate attempt to retrieve their lost luggage.

X user @aviosAdventurer tried to contact his airline with a presentation on his baggage journey

Full integration: a lasting solution for baggage handling

To solve these issues, airlines have to connect with their passengers with real-time information.

The Bluetooth baggage tracking solutions from Bob allow airlines to offer live baggage tracking and build vast customer loyalty.

Real-time tracking, airline integration, and fast customer service are no longer emerging trends, but passenger expectations for every flight.

Legacy tech, like barcode scanning and RFID, can no longer meet these demands. The speed and efficiency of Bluetooth has a sharp competitive edge in baggage tracking.

Comparison of barcode scanning, RFID, and Bluetooth for crucial analytics.

These insights are of the utmost importance for airlines.

Staying agile and meeting demands for personalization will be crucial to drive performance. It’s key to improving customer outcomes, as shown in a recent McKinsey report:

“Companies that grow faster drive 40 percent more of their revenue from personalization than their slower-growing counterparts.”

There is a clear need for fully interconnected systems, both passenger-facing and backend. Bluetooth has the power to guarantee seamless communication between airlines and customers.

As a revolutionary player in the baggage-handling landscape, Bob exemplifies the future of interconnected systems.

The journey of each bag becomes transparent and accessible to both airlines and passengers alike.

Ready for a new approach to the baggage experience?

The future of aviation consists of evolving, collaborating, and staying ahead of the curve.

Only by meeting and exceeding the expectations of the modern traveler can airlines ensure a competitive edge.

In this relentless pursuit of a seamless passenger experience, baggage handling innovations take center stage. 

Bob bridges the gap between the backend operations of airlines and the front-facing experience for passengers. This continuous stream of communication ensures transparency about the baggage journey. And both passengers and airlines can access this information.

The sky’s not the limit; it’s the beginning of a revolution in passenger experience.

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