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Mar 5, 2018,  by Allianz Partners Business Insights

Baggage tracking: RFID tags to be used at an airport in London

After offering it to passengers on US domestic flights, Delta Air Lines is set to implement its baggage tracking system, which uses RFID tags, at Heathrow International Airport in the UK. Airports in Paris, France and Amsterdam in the Netherlands should soon follow suit in turning to this kind of technology to enable passengers to follow the progress of their suitcases via their smartphones in real time.

Passengers on Delta Air Lines who land at Heathrow Airport in London will now be able to make use of Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology to follow the arrival of their baggage as it happens.

The US airline has recently installed its own on-line tracking system at the British airport, which has been certified since November 2017 by the international Air Transport Association (IATA), making Delta one of the first US airlines to offer this facility.


Updates in real time via smartphone


As explained in UK newspaper The Daily Mail, the Fly Delta mobile application keeps travellers informed of any movements in their suitcases. The user receives a notification in real time whenever the location of their luggage changes.

This functionality, which is currently only available on US soil, enables customers who have the app to see a map that shows exactly where each piece of luggage has gone, with 99.9% of the route of each bag covered by the system.


Baggage tracked by terminals and antennae


For it to function, RFID technology needs to read special labels placed on the suitcases. The tracking is then carried out via multiple tags and antennae set up along the luggage’s journey.

Implementing this technology in an airport would reduce 25% of baggage-handling-related incidents, including loss, delays in arrival and mis-routing. And most importantly of course, it would improve results in terms of passenger satisfaction levels.


All Delta airports will eventually have this technology


It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the US carrier is looking to invest a total of 50 million dollars (just over 40 million euros) in the use of RFID technology. It has already been implemented on the company’s domestic flights in the USA, and also recently at Heathrow International Airport in the UK.

The system is set to appear very soon at the Delta Air Lines hubs in Paris, France and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and in the long term, the technology should be available to Delta customers in the 344 airports that the airline flies to around the world.


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