Travelers turn to Bluetooth bag locators after “summer of lost luggage”

Travelers turn to Bluetooth bag locators after “summer of lost luggage”

Travelers turn to Bluetooth bag locators after “summer of lost luggage”

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<p><figcaption class=Photograph: Remko de Waal / EPA

A coin-sized piece of consumer electronics turned out to be the surprise hit of the summer among travelers.

After a spring of increasing insurance claims and widespread images of baggage piled high, many will have felt some trepidation to see their suitcase slammed into the jaws of the airport’s baggage system.

International data from the US showed abused baggage rates increased as passenger numbers rebounded in an understaffed aviation industry, leading nervous travelers to invest in Bluetooth tracking devices. to track the journey of your suitcase online.

The UK regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, does not hold such figures, but delivery appears to have improved over the summer. Flight schedule cuts and an urgent hiring rush have averted a dreaded “summer of lost baggage” at UK airports, although analysts believe the industry is not out of the woods yet.

The limit on the number of passengers at airports such as Heathrow and Gatwick and large schedule cuts by airlines such as British Airways have brought relief to ground attendants and a better passenger experience, with consumer organizations receiving fewer complaints of lost luggage.

At Heathrow and other airports, the arrivals board now no longer just says when a plane has landed, but also whether baggage has been delivered. The airport’s infamous “mountain of baggage” in June was due to a technical failure in the 50-year-old automated system in Terminal 2. But most of the heaps were due to a lack of staff, not just baggage handling. but in all parts of aviation, from check-in to air traffic control.

Any flight delays leave the scarce ground operators out of position to care for the planes, causing delays to build up, with baggage problems only adding to the mix.

Lost baggage is not just a distressing problem for customers, but a huge headache for businesses. Aside from the time-consuming administration of locating baggage and the huge expense of the courier, the ones that pile up often quickly produce an alarming smell: unwashed holiday laundry at best; or worse, thawing, straining and marching local delicacies brought in from abroad. While many unclaimed baggage from UK airports ends up under the hammer at an auction house in Tooting, South London, others have to be incinerated.

For some there is a simple solution. Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary says the airline should be thanked for freeing passengers from their baggage habits. Around 80% of its passengers no longer check in in the hold, discouraged by the high fares that Ryanair was the first to introduce. “We were the good guys. You have a much better experience at the airport. Why would you want to queue at the check-in counter or wait at a carousel upon arrival? Bring your bag and go away. “

Lost baggage is a bigger problem at larger hub airports, with connecting flights, O’Leary says: “You lose noticeably few baggage on point-to-point journeys. We lose about one for every 1,000 bags we carry. Through Heathrow, Schiphol, Gatwick to a lesser extent, and through Frankfurt there was total chaos. “

He admits it’s not all the airports’ fault: “Flights arrive late, passengers can make connections, but baggage has no chance.”

Aviation analyst Andrew Charlton says the situation has improved slightly. But he also wonders how long passengers will choose to accept the chaos of travel: “People were so determined to travel this summer that they were ready to take it.”

Even Amazon is reportedly luring aviation workers to its warehouses, airlines will need to hire more people under better conditions, he argues, leading to higher rates. “Eventually they will have to treat them as human beings, rather than as economic units. Will the flight improve soon? I do not know. But more expensive? Of course.”

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