Airlines tapping into technology to cut down the number of luggage delay and loss

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Airport Luggage . Image. Courtesy

Airlines and airports are tapping into technology advances such as chipping suitcases in order to cut down the number of luggage delay and loss cases during travel as they aim to enhance their customers’ overall travel experiences.

According to a latest research by Sita, an international Information Technology provider which tracks baggage handling for airline and passengers in 220 countries Kenya included, 30 million bags are being mishandled every year based on passenger number of 2 billion.

The research further indicates that in 2018, 4.36 billion passengers flew representing a 6.6 per cent more than in 2017 where the number of mishandled bags rose by just 2.2 per cent to 5.69 per 1,000 passengers. During the time under review, of the 4.3 billion passengers there were 24.5 million bags mishandled.

To solve such issues, airlines and airports are harnessing on technology, for instance banking on chipping client baggage to give travellers and the airline a humble process of tracking their bags with ease.

As technology has become more sophisticated, it has also become easier to roll out chipping which allows more remote and international airports so successfully upgrade their facilities and modernise their service delivery in dealing with luggage loss and delay.

This can be achieved only when airports equip their workers with enterprise mobile devices where bags can be scanned and identified much faster, whilst still being recorded accurately. Moreover, airlines can increase worker efficiency and ultimately lead to fewer mistakes. All scans link to a central database, giving both workers and passengers increased visibility over every item of luggage checked into the hold, at every stage. 

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Already countries like Greek have started using tagging and chipping and has seen them record tremendous results as it has reduced cases of luggage loss, delay and baggage change over by almost 99 per cent.

While arming staff with mobile devices and continuing to digitise the whole travel infrastructure is a great start, airlines and airports must be open to harnessing new technology in order to continue to adapt and modernise. Meanwhile, open-source-style communication between airlines and airports is paramount to efficiency and safety. 

According to a latest research by Sita, an international Information Technology provider which tracks baggage handling for airline and passengers in 220 countries Kenya included, 30 million bags are being mishandled every year based on passenger number of 2 billion.

The research further indicates that in 2018, 4.36 billion passengers flew representing a 6.6 per cent more than in 2017 where the number of mishandled bags rose by just 2.2 per cent to 5.69 per 1,000 passengers. During the time under review, of the 4.3 billion passengers there were 24.5 million bags mishandled.

Nearly half of all bags that go astray do so because of problems with flight transfers, increase in tourist footfall whilst still complying with International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations. For instance, 46 per cent of misplaced bags were lost during flight connections last year.

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Cases of baggage delay and loss in Kenya is also encountered which is raising a concern.  According to Kenya Airways (KQ) when a passenger’s luggage is delayed or lost, the traveller is required to immediately report the case to the airline management where the casualty will be given a file reference number to keep as the airline tries to recover the lost luggage.

If the bag has been accidentally delayed or exchanged, KQ will make arrangements to have it delivered to your local address when it arrives. However, this service sometimes take time to be delivered while in some countries, this service is not available due to local government restrictions.

Should you need to make a claim for compensation, this will be required in writing within seven days after your arrival to your nearest Kenya Airways airport office or you should contact your insurance company.

Even so, the losses are costing nearly $2.9 billion in industry costs globally. In 2011, Kaditu Kanu a frequent traveller from Siera Leon, sued KQ for lost luggage. The aggravated passenger wanted KQ to pay him Sh577, 229 for the damages caused.

For instance, Jenny Luesby, a global business entrepreneur and a frequent traveller who is also a casualty of luggage delay expresses embarrassing moments when it comes to luggage mishandle by the airlines.

 “Sometimes I have forced to que, take long hours reporting the case to the airline management and even going back to the airport to claim my bag which is a huge nuisance,” said Luesby.

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