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Lost your luggage in transit? BagJourney aims to ease baggage woes

Constant monitoring Baggage transfer made easy through real time tracking

Constant monitoring Baggage transfer made easy through real time tracking   | Photo Credit: izusek

The nightmare of losing your suitcase in transit may soon be a thing of the past

Even after four years, there is panic in Shreya Lahoty’s voice as she recounts the ordeal of losing her suitcase on a Mumbai-to-Guwahati flight. “It was red in colour with rollers attached to it. It had all the documents I needed for college and the study material for my end semesters,” she says. Hopefully, Lahoty may not have to face the same predicament again, thanks to a baggage tracking network called BagJourney created by SITA (Société Internationale de Télécommunications Aéronautiques), a multinational information technology company specialising in the aviation industry.

Airlines can use this tracking system to reduce baggage loss, a necessary step to comply with International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) resolution that comes into effect this year. “With the IATA Resolution 753 being voted on, member airlines need to implement tracking at key points in the journey,” says Maneesh Jaikrishna, vice president, Indian Subcontinent, SITA. All IATA members — including prominent airlines operating in India, such as Jet Airways and JetLite, Vistara, Air India, Singapore Airlines, American Airlines and Lufthansa among others — have to track baggage at four key points: when the passenger hands it over to the airline, when it’s loaded on to the aircraft, when it’s delivered to the transfer area and when it’s returned to the passenger.

With BagJourney, airline staff as well as passengers will receive information through standard Baggage Information Messages (BIMs) about the bag’s current handling status and location. The process will be similar to tracking parcels on e-commerce sites after they have been dispatched. The service is tailored for mobile applications, where passengers will be able to check the status of their bags in real time.

“Alitalia became Europe’s first airline to be certified by IATA for achieving compliance with Resolution 753 at its Rome Fiumicino hub in November 2017 with SITA’s assistance,” reveals Jaiksrishna. Closer home, the ongoing project at Nagpur’s Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar International Airport, to make it an international cargo hub, will also be using SITA’s bag-managing network. According to Peter Drummond, portfolio director baggage at SITA, “The airport, which is expected to accommodate up to 14 million passengers on completion in 2035, will accurately track passengers’ bags and significantly reduce the likelihood of them being mishandled.”

According to a SITA report of 2018, the number of bags mishandled has gone down to 5.5 per thousand passengers. “Over the past decade, the mishandling rate has dropped by more than 70%,” says Jaikrishna. “In the future, we hope to use artificial intelligence to identify bags on a short transfer and prioritise those bags.”

SITA indicates that the face of baggage transfer is also rapidly changing. Airlines will begin using strategic locations such as conference venues and hotels as bag-drop kiosks, eliminating the need to travel to the airport with your luggage in tow. Virgin Australia Airlines, in February 2018, already revealed its plans for a similar pop-up bag-drop service in order to ease airport congestion.

Replacing mishandled baggage costs airlines an average of US$2.3 billion, and therefore using tracking technology such as BagJourney to keep your bags safe makes great sense.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 6:01:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/bagjourney-a-tracking-system-aims-to-ease-baggage-woes/article23824010.ece

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