Mishandled bags move one click closer to extinction
Technology has consistently improved the plight of the lost bag: in 2012, 99.1 percent of bags were delivered to their owners on time, a number higher than any other since SITA started their annual Baggage Report.
Even so, that still leaves .9% of bags – or 25.8 million mishandled bags annually.
A technological mashup now promises to reduce that number even further: the combination of traditional luggage, an RFID chip and a “Find My Bag” iPhone app means that lost luggage may be more like “temporarily displaced.”
The concept is called Bag2Go, and was the fruit of a partnership between mobile carrier T-Mobile and German luggage maker Rimowa.[Watch a video here]
Other features include a digital scale to allow travelers to weigh their bags by holding the handle, and the ability to integrate with currently existing airline baggage systems to include your trip details and frequent flier information.
Business models are varied, from consumers purchasing the ‘smart’ bags upfront in an ownership model, a pay-per-use rental of luggage, and a door-to-door delivery service that first brings an empty suitcase to a traveler’s home and then delivers it to their destination.
Airbus is still unclear as to how this fits in to their existing business – “The value for passengers is clear, but where is the added value for Airbus? That’s the point, we are really working on the business model today,” said Airbus’ Chief Innovation Officer Yann Barbaux to Australian Business Traveller.
Any co-founders out there looking for their next step in travel, take note: If it was so easy to create this technology, the elephant crushing the suitcase is asking why no airlines or startups have already implemented RFID integrations with their baggage tags.
Airbus has a cargo-hold full of relationships with airlines, so this is something they could very easily implement. It’s definitely a different business, but if it weights plane purchase decisions in their favor (vital in the ongoing Battle of the Sky versus Boeing), then this innovation could have very real top-line revenue impact.
Real-time baggage tracking could be a very easy value-add – one that could be added as a frequent flier perk or paid service – and provide an iPhone app to allow customers to see their bags in real-time. This could be especially popular among those traveling with valuable, odd-sized items or animals checked as cargo.
Airlines must continually be reminded that consumer-facing technology is as important as the array of seamless tech that ensures smooth travel operations worldwide – and both those who operate and those who sell airplanes should consider service innovations that reverse the downward spiral of perceived pain for travelers.[watch a video here]
NB: Bag image courtesy of Shutterstock.
Nick Vivion was a reporter (and later also global events lead) for Tnooz between August 2012 and July 2015. He was the launch co-founder of Booty's, a global street food restaurant in New Orleans and was recently AVP Operations, North America at Zomato.