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Sat, 30 April 2016

Delta to Deploy RFID Baggage Tracking Technology

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 RFID technology.

 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 2016.

"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."

Initial 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 Connection flights.

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" 

See also: Baggage Mishandling Rate Down 10.5% to Lowest Ever Recorded and Future of Air Travel - HD Video Interview with SITA President for Asia Pacific.

See other recent news regarding: Delta, Luggage, Baggage, Tracking, Mobile, App

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