Delta Air Lines is deploying Radio Frequency
Identification (RFID) baggage tracking technology which allows
travellers to track their luggage in real-time.
Delta, which handles roughly 120
million bags annually, will replace barcode hand
scanning – the industry standard since the early 90s, with this
Scanners use radio waves to capture data stored on an RFID chip embedded in
the luggage tag, this leads to better tracking and increased transparency.
With RFID, customers will see their bags on
and off the aircraft during their journey via push notifications
to the Fly Delta mobile app beginning in the fourth quarter of
"With a $50 million investment in RFID at 344
stations around the globe, we aim to reliably deliver every bag on
every flight," said Bill Lentsch, Delta's Senior Vice President –
Airport Customer Service and Cargo Operations. "This innovative
application of technology gives us greater data and more precise
information throughout the bag's journey."
deployments of RFID integrated throughout the baggage process show
that bags are tracked at a 99.9% success rate, ensuring
proper routing and loading.
"In the same
way that customers want information at their fingertips about
flight changes, we know our customers want clear visibility to
their checked bags," said Tim Mapes, Delta's Chief Marketing
Officer. "Delta's industry-first baggage tracking app was a good
first step. RFID will allow us to set a new standard for more
transparent, interactive tracking on the Fly Delta mobile app."
Delta teams have deployed 4,600 scanners, installed 3,800
RFID bag tag printers and integrated 600 pier and claim readers to
enable hands-free scanning of baggage throughout the handling
process. RFID will soon track bags on all Delta mainline and Delta
Spread throughout 84 of Delta's largest
stations, 1,500 belt loaders will give baggage the green light –
literally – as it enters and exits the belly of a plane. The belt
loader sensor will flash green when the bag is being loaded on the
correct aircraft or red when the bag requires additional handling.
Today when a customer misses his or her connection, agents
on the ground manually scan each bag to find the customer's
luggage and ensure it is retagged for the new flight. With RFID
scanners, agents have the ability to take inventory quickly or
pinpoint a single bag.
"We've put every part of our
process for baggage handling under the microscope and evolved it
to the point of industry-leading performance," Lentsch said. "RFID
will give Delta people a great tool to further widen the gap
between us and our competitors"
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