Mobile technology will bring far better baggage handling. This is a crucial focus for the air transport industry as passenger numbers grow, says the SITA 2019 Passenger IT Insights report. Christelle Laverriere , Research Expert, Market Insight, SITA, says mobile technology can provide an answer to provide better baggage handling.
If the air transport industry is going to improve the passenger experience, operational efficiencies and its bottom lines, then better baggage handling is undoubtedly a top agenda item. Some 4.3 billion air passengers traveled around the globe last year. That’s roughly 4.3 billion bags that have to be processed. This number will only grow.
Better baggage handling is central to a better travel experience for air passengers. Bags, after all, are personal. People are understandably attached to them. They don’t want the added stress of not trusting whether their bag will be there at the end of the journey. They just want to pick it up and be on their way.
Transforming to an intelligent baggage experience
In our 2018 SITA Baggage Report we saw how baggage management is changing, with passengers set to see some major differences. I’m pleased to say that this has come to fruition. SITA’s 2019 Passenger IT Insights report highlights enormous potential for using data and intelligence to inform air passengers of the whereabouts of their baggage. Real-time notifications and fast self-service bag drop, for example, are becoming more commonplace.
Airlines are increasingly rolling out apps for air passengers that provide them with tracking updates on their baggage in real-time. The Insights report shows that one in four passengers have used an app to collect information about their baggage, to inform them of which belt their baggage will arrive on, for example.
Tracking – tackling a pinch-point
One of the stand-out points of the SITA 2019 Passenger IT Insights report is that passengers are more satisfied when using technology. This especially applies to baggage tracking. Some 8.6% said they were more satisfied when airlines and airports share information about the whereabouts of their baggage. This is a great improvement as baggage handling is a real pinch-point for air passengers.
At SITA we’re actively working with IATA to deliver tracking to comply with the IATA Resolution 753, designed to encourage airlines to further reduce baggage mishandling by implementing cross-industry tracking for every bag journey. Data harvested at check-in, aircraft loading, transfer and arrival can be shared with stakeholders to enhance operational efficiency by reducing baggage mishandling costs and pushing forward on-time performance.
SITA’s Bag Journey, for example, supports a smoother bag journey experience by making sure everyone involved in the baggage process has up-to-date information about the exact location of each bag being handled. Following the deployment of Bag Journey, Etihad Airways, which processes approximately 24.5 million bags for its 8,500 scheduled flights now closes more than 90% of mishandled baggage cases as a result.
Following the deployment of Bag Journey, Russia’s S7 Airlines was able to meet the requirements of Resolution 753 very quickly, as 55% of its baggage traffic was already digital thanks to SITA’s baggage services already in place. These services have also allowed the carrier to improve its passenger experience, using the SITA Bag Journey API with real time information of the baggage loading information, S7 passengers are able to track their baggage at Domodedovo Airport via the S7 mobile app.
Passengers want mobile services
SITA research also shows that the vast majority of passengers carry a smartphone, tablet or laptop – with 17% carrying all three devices. This provides an enormous opportunity for airlines and airports to provide mobile services that offer personalised information. There’s no doubt about it: the demand among passengers is definitely there.
In our 2019 Passenger IT Insights report, unsurprisingly, three of the top mobile services on air passengers’ wish lists link directly to tracking the status of their baggage: 65% said they’d definitely report mishandled bags via their mobile devices, 64% said they want to be able to track their bags via an app, and 63% would like baggage collection notifications pushed to their mobile devices on arrival. Only a quarter of air passengers say they can actually do this today.
A mobile future
This year’s Passenger IT Insights is encouraging. It makes clear that airlines and airports are keen to bring in mobile services for baggage tracking, and where such services are available passengers are getting a very positive experience.
This is great news. I believe we’re on the cusp of real change. The analysis of end-to-end baggage tracking has the power to pinpoint exactly where efficiencies can be improved, while enhancing the overall passenger experience and taking us one step closer to seamless travel.