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Air France plans to bug bags to avoid losses

Joshua Melvin · 14 May 2014, 10:05

Published: 14 May 2014 10:05 GMT+02:00

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Certain travelers may soon awake, once and for all, from the nightmare of lost luggage.

Air France plans to roll out a pilot program by the end of the year that will see RFID chips or GPS trackers attached to their bags.

At first the trackers will be stuck to a just a few regular travelers’ suitcases, in order to test the system. As long as it goes well, the Big Brother-type surveillance will be extended to members of the airline’s customer loyalty programme, BFMTV reported.

With roughly one in 1,000 bags turning up missing, lost luggage may not seem to be exactly an epidemic. But if you’ve ever stared helplessly at the baggage carousel where your bag was supposed to be, you likely understand the advantages of real-time tracking.   

The problem of missing bags is also costly for airlines. Tracking them down, delivering them and compensating travelers’ for the inconvenience costs the company some €5 million per year.

One of the worst recent examples of baggage Armageddon came in March 2013 when a spring snow storm left about 10,000 pieces of luggage at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport without their rightful owners. 

At the time Air France said the luggage would be sent to its owners, wherever they were, and that a dedicated staff of 500 had been assigned this duty. Though no figures were released, it likely did nothing to help the company's bottom line. 

Joshua Melvin (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

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