There's a reason why I never check luggage when I go on an airplane: I expect it will get left behind, misplaced or otherwise lost. To combat this fear of missing suitcases, Delta is rolling out a system that will allow you track your bags, so you can open the Fly Delta mobile app to learn exactly where the airline dropped them.
This news comes from a Delta blog post released yesterday (Oct. 25) that announced that the airline is tracking bags by tagging them with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, which can be tracked passively, without manual hand-scans. Delta is already using this system at 84 airports in the U.S., and will be spreading to international stations "in the coming months."
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When a customer opens the bag tracking feature, the Delta app first presents them with a zoomed out map of the US, showing each stop the bag made during the current trip, and then a blue suitcase icon will show users the current location of their luggage. If you tap on those pins or icons, you'll see more information, such as the time it arrived at that point and the name of the claim area or carousel where it can be found.
But what if I see that my luggage is still in New York as I'm already in the air going to Las Vegas for January's CES convention?
Delta spokesperson Ashton Morrow told CNN that bag tracking can also fix problems as they arise, stating "If a bag isn't on the right plane for some unfortunate reason, we can start the relocation process quicker."
Since a map of tracked RFID tags isn't something that Delta is likely to patent, fliers with frequent flier miles invested in other airlines shouldn't be too worried. It's only a matter of time before this is a standard found on all planes, similar to on-demand Wi-Fi.