Baggage and RFID – Where next?
A lack of information and proper baggage systems are two main reasons why baggage goes missing. As a result, one of the most commonly recommended solutions in BIP is the installation of track and trace technology at busy airports around the world.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is at the heart of effective track and trace technology. Twelve years ago, the first IATA RFID trials for baggage handling were conducted. Much has changed since then – the industry standardized a single frequency and data format, and numerous airports adopted RFID for either departing or transfer baggage.
Disposable RFID baggage labels are used in many airports, and IATA preferred partners George Schmitt and IER are able to provide these to the industry using any of the inlays that have been previously approved by IATA.
A new trend in RFID is in reusable baggage tags. A reusable baggage tag can be used for many journeys, resulting in passenger convenience, the cost of the label being spread over a longer time, and a more environmentally friendly product.
A reusable tag is associated with a passenger rather than with the bag. At a bag drop or check-in desk there is no need to print and affix a regular baggage tag, at least for point-to-point journeys. This results in a very fast baggage drop process – in fact baggage drop becomes a literal expression as the bag is placed on a conveyor and taken into the baggage system. What’s more, in the unlikely event that the bag is mishandled, the passenger details are there on the tag, allowing for its fast return.
A reusable baggage tag is more expensive than a disposable one – it has to be rugged and to survive many journeys. However, the cost of the tag is shared amongst all those journeys, resulting in a lower per journey cost than a disposable label.
Disposable baggage labels are complex structures involving layers of paper, plastics and silicon adhesive. A reusable baggage label would reduce our industry’s waste.
IATA is launching a reusable baggage tag effort at the next Baggage Working Group, taking place 22 and 23 March in Montreal. This work will look at how we can reuse a baggage tag for several journeys and between different carriers. Stay tuned!
More information visit www.iata.org/bip