Digital luggage tags promise no more lost bags

(CBS NEWS) -- When fliers check their bags at the airport before taking off, many are overcome with a feeling of uncertainty, hoping their luggage makes it to their destination.

The conventional way of ensuring that checked bags reach their owner's destinations -- paper luggage tags -- may soon become a thing of the past, as airlines begin testing new ways to give fliers more control, such as letting passengers track their luggage using their smartphones.

Airlines including Air France-KLM are now testing so-called "digital luggage tags." Using a tracking device that is placed inside, as well as a tag that is locked to the bag's handle, an app lets its owner track their bag if it ever gets lost.

The technology, which includes a normal barcode with the flight information, means fliers are not dependent on the airline to learn where their bags are. "You are in control," says David van Hoytema, the CFO and founder of FastTrack, the company that developed the technology.

British Airways has said that it hopes to launch its own digital luggage tag program by the end of the year. Using the airline's official app and the digital tag, fliers would be able to skip the check-in line and go directly to their own e-bag drop off point.

"If I can save you five or six minutes every time you fly, by having one of these -- then as a frequent flier, that means something to me," David Martin of British Airways told CBS News correspondent Alphonso Van Marsh.

Traveler Jennie Milne told Van Marsh that anything that speeds it up is good for her. Other frequent fliers agreed.

"If it saves time and it makes sense, then I embrace it," said Yvon Asafu-Adjaye, a frequent flier.The new tags could be in use on some flights by the end of the year.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment