Qantas overhauls passenger check-in and luggage system with RFID technology
Australia-based long haul airline Qantas has released details of a new project to automate check-in, boarding and luggage tracking using RFID technology.
The first phase of the scheme is to overhaul passenger facilities at Perth airport in Australia to trial much of the new system.
Frequent Flyer members with the airline will be issued with a touch-card containing their travel and personal details so passengers can check-in for flights, weigh and deposit luggage at designated areas and also use as a boarding card.
The service is expected to launch in Sydney later in 2010, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra in 2011.
The most advanced part of the project (and Qantas claims is a world first) is the use of RFID technology – known as the Q Bag Tag – to track passenger luggage.
Each item will have a unique RFID tag which contains the same information as the passenger card but can be used to track luggage and other items as they pass through check-in, baggage handling facilities, onto aircraft and at the destination (hopefully).
Handlers will also able to locate items to the nearest square metre using a device that pinpoints the location in the hold of the aircraft.
The RFID technology will be deployed when the system is rolled out to Sydney airport later this year.
Kevin May is a senior editor and one of the co-founders at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career in journalism at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and will be publishing his first book - a biography about electronic band, Depeche Mode - soon.