Monday, 16 March 2015

Better baggage retrieval

I think we could do better with baggage retrieval at airports using technology. Instead of having one big conveyor belt and a crowd of people who could easily mistake someone else's luggage for theirs, or could just wander up and take whichever one they like, we should have a system of RFID tags on luggage so that they can be identified throughout the flight and when you land. Then, at the baggage claim, bags are unloaded as before, but then held in individual bays awaiting claim. To claim your own bag, you take your boarding pass and scan it at a machine which recognises the tag, matches it to a bag and sends it down for you. If the airport doesn't have this system, they can still use their old single-conveyor method.

Now, how can this system fail? Well, if you lose your boarding pass on the plane, you'll have to go and see customer service to get your bag with some other ID. There won't, however, be a situation where your bag gets picked up by someone else by mistake unless you manage to mix up your boarding passes. What if someone steals your boarding pass in order to take your bag? Well, they could take your bag anyway, in the current system, but this way you have a chance for the machine to take their picture when they claim the bag, to give some hint who might have it. If your bag is misrouted? You find out right away when you go to claim it, rather than sitting there and waiting for all the other bags to be claimed first.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The thing is, it's fairly expensive to implement and provides only minimal benefit.
PPS - To the airlines, that is.

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