While lost baggage rates are at a record low in 2016 (Related News – Airlines Recorded Lowest Lost checked Baggage Rate in 2016), the unlucky passengers who happened to lose theirs would not have any reprieve from the anxiety the process caused. American Airlines aims to reduce this fear with a new notification system.
The Dallas/Fort Worth based airline launched a new notification service with the goal to assist passengers in the event that their checked baggages are lost in transit.
How Does It Work?
Passengers on American Airlines operated flights can sign up for the Customer Baggage Notification (CBN) service through 1. the airline’s mobile application, 2. their AAdvantage account or 3. providing contact information during the online / in person booking or check-in process. Should their checked baggages not make it to the final destination, passengers will receive one of three types of notification alerting them of the news:
- Early Baggage Arrival – This message alerts customers that their bag arrived before them and directs them to pick up their bag at the Baggage Service Office (BSO).
- Late Baggage Arrival – Go to the Baggage Service Office – This message directs customers, for example those with an international segment in their reservation, to see an agent at the BSO.
- Late Baggage Arrival – Mobile Baggage Order (MBO) – This message advises customers to fill out a Mobile Baggage Order, or MBO, on their mobile device. The automated MBO asks for the customer’s delivery details and a bag description to help expedite reuniting the customer with their items. By using the MBO, customers no longer need to stop at the BSO to file a claim.
American Airlines noted that the CBN service “is an exciting innovation that helps take care of our customers and our team members”, adding that “Customers get more information quickly and our team members get more time to help those who have complicated baggage claims.”
Experience The Skies reviewed American Airlines chief rivals Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines and noted that the latter two have a similar notification system implemented to alert passengers of lost baggages. In addition, Delta Air Lines introduced a feature within its mobile application in October 2016 which allowed passengers to track the location of their checked baggages like a parcel. The visual display provided a better frame of mind and eased anxiety over notification systems alerts will be received only when passengers reach their final destinations.
Delta was able to provide passengers with more information due to its investment in RFID technology at 84 U.S. airports which allowed all checked baggages to be tagged and scanned like a parcel no different than the process used with scanned codes by package delivery companies like Purolator. The technology takes a proactive stand and set the airline apart from a passenger experience perspective.
American Airlines can follow Delta Air Lines’ lead in investing in other technologies that will track baggages more accurately. This will not assist passengers through location tracking and also the airline in managing costs and processes. Technology investment would allow the airline to:
- At the origin airport – Reconcile passenger check-in baggage total to sort to load for completeness and accuracy. Any missed items would trigger automated processes to inform passenger, connecting / destination airports and third party couriers.
- On board experience – Working with partner, IBM (Related News – American Airlines Mitigates To IBM Cloud Technology), in creating MobileFirst applications that would assist flight attendants in helping passengers with baggage questions or issues due to delay flights.
- At the destination airport – Automate parts of the lost baggage claim process for passengers so that they would be able to continue with their journey until they are reunited with their bags. This should include technologies to scan receipt for claim under specific conditions, delivery tracking and compensation features.
American Airlines joins others in implementing a lost baggage notification system. This is a welcomed step forward to ease passenger anxiety. The airline will now be able to take next steps (such as automated baggage tracking, lost baggage reporting and lost baggage compensation) and improve in an area most often causing complaints and costs.