Over in the past 10 years, the introduction of self-service checked baggage tags and fully automatic self-service check-in services has provided new airline and airport baggage handling. In many airports, passengers do not have to queue up at the check-in counter staff to print the baggage check label and then put the baggage into the baggage handling system. Instead, the passengers complete the process on their own, eliminating a lot of waiting time.
Over the past 10 years, the introduction of self-service checked baggage tags and fully automatic self-service check-in services has provided new airline and airport baggage handling. In many airports, passengers do not have to queue up at the check-in counter staff to print the baggage check label and then put the baggage into the baggage handling system. Instead, the passengers complete the process on their own, eliminating a lot of waiting time.
However, as the number of passengers increases, the number of baggage handled by the airport is increasing, and airports and airlines face the challenge of handling more and more passengers and luggage with limited infrastructure. Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that by 2036, global aviation passengers will reach 7.8 billion. IATA said that measures need to be taken to deal with possible "infrastructure crisis", but the aviation industry has begun to actively innovate to meet the challenges.
Electronic baggage tag
Since the French-KLM electronic baggage tag was introduced in 2014, reusable electronic baggage tags are considered a good solution. Recently, joint RIMOWA such as Lufthansa and Evergreen have introduced electronic tag luggage, but the popularity is very slow, and this solution for all passengers (economy class and high-end class) is not currently widely available.
However, Lufthansa is still struggling to develop electronic labels: In early 2018, Lufthansa announced a cooperation with BAGTAG. Passengers of Lufthansa, Swissair and Austrian Airlines can use a reusable electronic tag of checked baggage. No longer need paper labels.
Passengers can use BAGTAG's electronic labeling equipment on the luggage compartment with a backing plate and screws. Just like the paper luggage label, the display will show all relevant information about aviation. Passengers can check in on Lufthansa’s Android phone app, receive electronic boarding passes and baggage tags, and then use low-power Bluetooth to send tags to electronic tag devices.
With baggage tags already in place, the passenger baggage drop process is reduced by one step, which is beneficial to passengers, airlines and airports.
Baggage delivery outside the airport
Some aviation companies are exploring luggage delivery services. At the end of 2017, American Airlines announced a new service: Passengers flying from London Heathrow Airport to the United States can check baggage in advance anywhere in London. Passengers no longer need to go to the airport with their luggage. Instead, they will go directly to the baggage claim office after arriving at their destination. British Airways also offers similar baggage delivery services at Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
In early May, Emirates also launched a "home check-in" service: passengers anywhere in Dubai can check in and check in at home. Passengers need to book this service first. Afterwards, the check-in staff of Emirates will arrive at the place specified by the passenger to weigh and label the baggage, then check in for the passenger, and send the passenger’s baggage to Dubai International Airport. Passengers using this service can go directly to the customs without having to check in.
Although this long-distance baggage check service requires passengers to pay a certain fee, it allows passengers more convenience and helps reduce the number of checked baggage at the airport, thus helping to release some of the airport's extremely important operational capabilities.
Virgin Australia successfully tested off-airport baggage services in 2017. Currently, this service is being promoted at large airports in Australia. The service uses cloud technology to allow passengers to check in at locations far from the airport, such as docks, meeting locations and hotels. The original intention of Virgin Australia's launch of this service is to ensure the safety of passengers' luggage and to reach the airport easily while reducing the waiting time for passengers.
Fiji Aviation recently launched the "Resort Hotel Check-in" service, which was initially available only to passengers at the Sofitel Resort & Spa in Fiji on Denarau Island. Passengers can check in the hotel lobby baggage, and then at the destination airport baggage claim waiting for luggage on the line.
This baggage delivery is not new, and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport began offering this service a few years ago. However, recent projects show that there is still a market for such services.
It is too early to predict whether and when the above options will be widely used in the aviation industry. However, airlines, airports and related partners have already felt that to support future growth and meet passenger needs, the existing baggage handling process needs to be modernized.
Baggage tracking is also a hot topic today. IATA's Resolution 753 will take effect on June 1, 2018, adding new discussion points for future baggage shipments.Of course, it is difficult for airlines and airports to decide on which type of baggage consignment plan to invest time, money, and resources. As passengers, we can only show more patience and we wait to see.