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Watch: The Secret Life of Luggage — And the New Tech That Tracks It


Travelers at Ronald Reagan National Airport walk to a security checkpoint prior to traveling. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images
Travelers at Ronald Reagan National Airport walk to a security checkpoint prior to traveling. PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

Missing luggage is one of the banes of air travel. And even though the airlines lost 68 percent fewer bags in 2014 than in 2007, 24.1 million bags were lost or temporarily mislaid that year. That's why any innovations that help with bag tracking are always welcome. The above video from Wired highlights a few.

British Airways is testing a smart tag that passengers can reuse on other flights. The tag would have a bar code and customers would use a smartphone app to input their latest flight information. This would eliminate the time and paper spent attaching those sticky tags to suitcases.

Delta Air Lines rolled out RFID chips in their luggage tags earlier this year. Instead of baggage handlers scanning each bag with a hand scanner, conveyor belt loaders will have sensors that flash green when a piece of luggage is loading on the right aircraft and red when it's not. Delta says the tracking works 99.9 percent of the time. Passengers should be able to follow their luggage's journey via push notifications to the Fly Delta app by the end of 2016.

And there's more: Iberia Airlines (in conjunction with Siemens) has tested a service where passengers can print their own baggage tags and boarding pass and load them directly onto a conveyor belt. Let's hope your suitcase is not too heavy. The Siemens president of airline logistics in Spain says this feature will give the passenger more autonomy and save waiting time.

To see more of your luggage's fascinating journey from check-out counter to plane cargo hold and beyond, watch the video at the top of this article.



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