Winning the Baggage Battle

Although mishandled luggage has long has been one of the airline industry's trouble spots, the number of mishandled bags has been reduced considerably over the past two years. This article discusses how the industry is improving baggage handling. There is no consensus on why handling has improved. Traffic is down, meaning fewer passengers, fewer bags and less chaos at airports. Airlines and airports also have invested in new baggage handling technology that may be playing a role in the improved performance. The widespread imposition of bag fees discourages passengers from checking luggage and provides more advance notice of how many bags will be checked per flight. Although the fees are disliked by passengers, they do help airlines recoup the cost of handling baggage. Despite improvements, the baggage handling problem is far from solved. In order to search for ways to improve handling, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has been visiting major airports around the world to study and audit baggage handling. To limit mishandlings, IATA has concluded that automatically recording data along the baggage chain would give airlines a better idea in real time of where bags are as well as providing statistics on baggage performance that would allow carriers and airports to analyze performance continually. Radio frequency identification (RFID) offers promise as a way of tracking bags accurately, but it is still not widespread. With RFID still at least several years away, some airlines are deploying handheld scanners along the baggage chain to prevent lost bags and to reunite mishandled bags with their owners quickly. Airlines also are considering, or even begin to implement, self-bag-tagging outside the U.S. Common-use bag-drop counters would be a strong complement to self-bag-tagging and would significantly reduce processing time per passenger.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Photos;
  • Pagination: pp 40-43
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01153328
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 30 2010 10:45PM