back to article Airbus imagines suitcases that find themselves

Airbus has floated a concept it calls “Bag2Go” that it says will make lost luggage a thing of the past. The word “ecosystem” gets overused a bit, but seems worth using to describe Bag2Go, which needs special luggage with embedded RFIDs. Those willing to pay for that privilege are then expected to use an app while they pack, the …

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Bronze badge
Facepalm

hmm

Just use your mobile on the plane to check....oh wait, mobile must be effectively off on the plane. try again.

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Re: hmm

You do realise some flights now have onboard wifi & even mobile coverage?

So while you would be told to turn it off for takeoff and landing, I am sure by the time something like this gets implemented, you would have wifi on all planes (no need for mobile coverage in my opinion, just mobile operators to allow SIP access to their network!!!)

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Meh

Fantastic

Having travelled to Germany while my case took a holiday in Spain might have been avoided.

Nothing worse than being the last person standing at the carousel waiting, as it stops and watching as the cleaners come and and start sweeping the floor.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Nothing worse

Well I too have been there, only in my case it was a flight from Germany to Accra in Ghana, the problem there is that the next flight in is 7 days later. by which time I was up in that part of Ghana with mud houses and no electricity.. Quite amazingly my baggage arrived in the village 10 days later.

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Pint

Re: Fantastic

Nope.

You really think that after all this time, airlines haven't figured out how to tag luggage such that it is associated with it's flight ? Bags are already very well linked to their flights, but they still go astray. In your Spain/Germany case, the only difference is that the baggage tag with bar code etc is replaced by an RFID version of the same thing. Your bag can still go missing, all that changes is the way it is identified (RFID scanner vs bar code scanner).

This is all about airport throughput by minimising check-in processing time, and nothing what-so-ever to do with passenger convenience (beyond that check-in process). Collecting your bags won't be much different. There's little/nothing to be gained by the airlines in Improving things once you have been dumped off the plane. The concern then is to get the next lot of fare paying passengers on-board.

And as the closing paragraph observes, once the security implications are fully considered, this will have very limited applications through only the lowest security airports.|

Having recently completed a long, multi-legged trip (NZ, Australia, Dubai, Ukraine, UK, Dubai, Australia, NZ) I can say with the benefit of recent experience, that such a system would have made absolutely no difference to me what-so-ever, beyond the inconvenience and cost of having had to spend $'s replacing my existing luggage with new luggage, "compatible" with this system.

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Joke

"Airbus imagines suitcases that find themselves"

It would be more useful if they found their owner

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Anonymous Coward

DEPLANEING?!

DE-PLANEING?! Really?

Disembarking, surely?

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Re: DEPLANEING?!

Reversing the result of planing and thus making the surface uneven again. I suspect that they are either carpenters, or non-native speakers. Possibly both.

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Headmaster

Re: DEPLANEING?!

Or even worse, "debarking" and yes, I have seen that in print, in Newsweek.

"Prince Charles, pictured here debarking with his charming wife Princess Diana ..."

The fact that it was referencing a picture of "Chuck & Di" (tm) made it doubly funny!

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Re: DEPLANEING?!

I've seen "deplaning" (without the hyphen) for about 30 years now. Maybe it's more common in the US.

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Coat

Re: DEPLANEING?!

Hey Boss! Deplane! Deplane...!

(What...?!)

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Anonymous Coward

What about the roaming charges ?

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Silver badge

Neat!

So in future Mr Ima Crazy-Person can avoid all that faff with smuggling an explosive device onto a plane by hiding it in his colostomy bag or whatever, all he does is pack it in his smart bag, tell his bag app that it's actually a clockwork toy, seal bag and yay - it's not a security risk and gets whipped straight through the system and onto the plane. Bingo! (Bango?)

I love technology!

Although a simple RFID chip and app to spot which of the identical black suitcases on the carousel is actually yours could be pretty handy.

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Pint

Re: Neat!

> Although a simple RFID chip and app to spot which of the identical black suitcases on the

> carousel is actually yours could be pretty handy.

Or, you simply attach something personal and distinctive to your bag to make it identifiable. It doesn't have to be fancy, just some old key-fob you never use any more or something similar. This has worked for me flawlessly over the years.

Why do people insist on making such simple things into rocket-science it aint ?

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Facepalm

Re: Neat!

Identical suitcases? in all my travels I've never seen anyone with a case identical to mine.....

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Holmes

Re: Neat!

"Why do people insist on making such simple things into rocket-science it aint ?"

So they can sell you more crap.

Or was this a rhetorical question?

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Stop

They would still lose it.

Everytime I fly from Charles De Gaulle they loose my bagage, I only take a small carry on now, and from the picture that option would be removed. Last flight I took, I arrived in Manchester my bags went to La Guardia in New York, there isn't even a direct flight with the airline I was on.

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Holmes

Re: They would still lose it.

That has to be you! Get new luggage or change your under arm deoderant - your present set doesn't like you and is trying to get away.

Over the past 16 years I have taken closing 500 flights and I have arrived at my hotel without the luggage I started with only once. OK once somone did try to take my Tumi, but the Singapore police dismembered him.

I wonder what people are doing to loose their luggage. I like this app even if its only to identify the bag as it starts its journey along the conveyor.

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Re: They would still lose it.

Carry on luggage is definitely something that "budget" airlines are looking to get rid of. The aim is to get everybody used to paying for checking every bag.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: They would still lose it.

I fly at least twice a week on business and have done so for 10 years. I have only ever checked my bag into the hold once and it was totally destroyed by the baggage handlers - Looked like it had been dropped from a great height onto one corner. If you have only had one mishap in 500 flights you have been extremely lucky!

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Thumb Down

Re: They would still lose it.

@Getriebe, you've just been lucky.

It's not people loosing their luggage, it's the airline loosing their luggage for them.

Fly through Schipol, Charles de Gaulle or O'Hare, you'll understand why.

The only benefit I see from this app is that it tells them they won't get their luggage before they sit there waiting at the carousel for hours.

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Re: They would still lose it.

@Charlie Clarke,

They're making your luggage into cargo.

More cargo = More money.

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Re: They would still lose it.

My only lost-luggage experience was AirFrance, Manchester to Genoa via Charles de Gaulle. However, my flight form Manchester had been delayed, AF were doing their best to hold to the Genoa flight for the very few of us making the connection (escort off the plane, VIP gates all the way from what seemed to be one side of the airport to the other), and so my case didn't make the flight I was on. It turned up at the hotel in Portofino before it got dark, though, so I have no complaints.

However, on this story: why the hell would I voluntarily introduce more points of failure (someone picking up my bags from the house or dropping it at a remote centre), since transfers are where problems occur? I can't think of a reason why any sane person would do this.

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FAIL

I thought that they did this?

18 years and 2 weeks ago I took my wife to Switzerland for a last holiday before children.

We flew with Swiss Air from the UK, and had a train and taxi journey to the hotel once in Switzerland, purchased as a whole from the airline. We left our baggage at check-in in the in the UK and it was in our hotel room when we arrived. When we left it was collected from the hotel and was on the baggage carrousel when we arrived back in the UK. Having not travelled by air for pleasure since, I had just assumed that this was the normal state of affairs. Obviously not!

Why do we need RFID, when the bags all have barcodes?

Why does end-to-end baggage transport not work?

The airline industry has not improved as a customer experience over the past 18 years!

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Re: I thought that they did this?

RFID has secondary benefits, they don't need line of sight to read the tag, when they're moving around the conveyor system inside the terminal.

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FAIL

Re: I thought that they did this?

Which sort of begs the question, when you have identified a bag without having seen it, how do you know which of the hundreds of bags you can't see is the one you just identified ?

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Anonymous Coward

Nice tracking backdoor..

I think this is a dangerous idea.

You kill off your mobile and you put your passport and credit card in a shielding bag - because that's what you know about by now. And presto, now you have another set of trackers, which would no doubt be made as compulsory as the deficient I-can-open-that-with-a-bent-paperclip locks we're supposed to use to assist the TSA with helping themselves to anything interesting.

What's more, now a criminal gang just needs a few people with NetSwipe enabled phones at point of origin to identify the luggage of more interesting owners, and thus save their colleagues on the other side from wasting their time just wading through clothes.

Add to that that RFIDs can be reprogrammed (even those in passports) and all it takes is a bored student to make a mess yet again.

Let's just say I'm yet to be convinced this is a good idea. It feels more like Privacy2Go.

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Happy

The best system I ever saw was on a Turkish Airlines flight between Istanbul and Lefkoşa/Nicosia (can't remember which direction).

The bus drove us out to the aircraft, let us off, and drove away again, but no-one was let on to the aircraft.

The baggage truck drives up, and the handlers start taking the bags off and putting them on the apron.

A few passengers see their bags and take them to the baggage handlers near the aircraft's hold door; the baggage handlers put these bags into the aircraft.

All the other passengers, us included, realise what's going on and do the same.

Everyone gets on the aircraft.

I didn't see any bags left, or people complaining their bags weren't there. I got the impression the handlers were ready to drive back and have a look if necessary.

Maybe it doesn't apply across the country, but from what I saw of Turkey/Turks they appear to have successfully combined the two stereotypes of Southern European laid-back-ness and Northern efficiency.

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Flame

Parcel post?

What a spiffing idea, but why stop there? if all the bags are a standard size, you could skip on the heavy containers, and transfer content in light weight cardboard containers within the larger boxes.. you could then go one step further and decant boxes directly into a bureau.. you might not even notice that the {D&G, Gucci, etc} bureau is not the same as the one you packed.. but is there a market?

More hand luggage gets lost in airports than in baggage handling, so the (non-drug, non-terrorist) market is valuables, but privacy is the enemy of security (that's why FedEx, DHL, etc, have their own planes).

Maybe Airbus should skip on the blue-sky thinking and concentrate on planes that don't crash when french pilots panic in bad weather (447)

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Unhappy

But your bags are already bar-coded, how do they get lost.

When you check in you bag gets a tag that is already almost impossible to remove.

On this is the date, flight number & your name, so how is it that they get lost already?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But your bags are already bar-coded, how do they get lost.

As someone who is currently sitting in a Baggage Handling area of an Airport in the Middle East, I can say that it is all too easy for baggage to get lost or more appropriately, miss directed.

One flight yesterday cam in with all the transfer bags mixed up with those for passengers whose final destination was my airport. By the time our baggage handlers had sorted out the mess, the flight had left on its next leg.

Result, lost of bags sitting in one place when they should have been in another.

Thankfully the BRS (Baggage Reconcilliation System) worked and all the passengers were able to get their bags only 3 hours late.

The idiots who operate the Baggage makeup system are usually to blame. I've seen my bag being loaded onto a flight at Frankfurt bound for JFK simply because the dumbos in Vienna put it in the wrong container and the loaders at FRA couldn't be bothered to check each bag. Well, you don't want to do you when it is snowing...

Once you see the inside of a BHS System sometimes you have to wonder why any bags make it to the final destination at all. Some BHS makers are better than others.

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FAIL

Re: But your bags are already bar-coded, how do they get lost.

Improved technology won't compensate for all the effects of lazy/underpaid/overworked baggage handlers.

A handler who can't be bothered to check a bag's printed tag is almost certainly not going to be bothered to check it's RFID tag either.

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Re: But your bags are already bar-coded, how do they get lost.

My (completely uninformed, but long-contemplated whilst in security queues) thought is that, since the tags are flexible, it is possible for them to deform in such a way that the code reads differently from what it is supposed to say. If it is only one or two digits between e.g. "London Heathrow" and "Larnaka", then it becomes feasible that things go wrong. I assume that there are checks and balances in the system (let's be honest, luggage doesn't get lost that often, and not for long when it does - the stories that circulate are rare worst-case events, or contain an element of exaggeration), and so the entire process is better than "good enough".

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FAIL

"suggesting Bag2Go will give travellers more time for a coffee at the airport"

BULLSHIT.

It may make things easier for the airline, but it just pushes the hassle on to the traveller.

The queues will just shift from the check-in counter to the bag-drop counter. That's 2 queues the traveller has to go in, now.

As to 'third party' shippers. Who's going to pay for that? The airline? I don't think so. They'll pass it on to the traveller (ie. they won't reduce their air ticket price) and so cost-conscious travellers will be found queueing up at the bag-drop counter. And then queueing up at check-in. Well done Airbus. You fuckwits.

TOTAL FAIL.

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I've never liked airport security

They drone on about you having to be responsible for your bag and keep it with you at all times. That you've made sure that no one has interfered with it.

Once you get off the plane and its thrown on to a conveyor where anyone can help themselves to.

Same with the scanners going in to departures. You are expected to throw your laptop, phone, keys, money etc in a tray. You then get held up at the metal detector because of someone with more piercings than skin is getting a pat down while your tray of goodies is sitting unprotected for the world to see.

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FAIL

Give your bags to the airline/handlers before you get to the airport...

... just gives them more chance to lose them. They'd be able to take them to the wrong departure airport as well as send them to the wrong destination!

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Facepalm

Why do we need new suitcases ?

Aren't RFID tags dirt-cheap nowadays ?

Don't we already have barcode stickers slapped on our luggage when we register them at the desk ?

Why have they not put 2 and 2 together ?

I acknowledge without any problem that RFID-tagged luggage would certainly be easier to sort in the baggage handling area, but I really don't see why I should change my luggage for that.

As for leaving the traveler to declare the suitcase contents before even registering, I cannot comprehend how that can possibly be accepted in a world where you can't bring a half-liter bottle of effing WATER in your carry-on.

For security reasons, it seems obvious to continue with the current procedure of having travellers register their luggage, having that luggage screened and scanned, and adding the RFID technology to aid in routing the luggage through airport baggage handling.

But hey, what do I know ? I'm just a traveler.

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Terminator

So just to make sure I get it right...

... the traveller is supposed to (a) pay a premium and (b) *list* the contents of their luggage (guys, looks like you need to add a few fields to the Passenger Name Record), and as a reward the airline won't lose your luggage. Or at least, they'll notice when they do.

"What a nice suitcase you have... would be a shame if anything happened to it, no? How about joining our new RFID-tagging program for a small fee, and we'll make sure nothing... "bad"... happens to your luggage...?"

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WTF?

That means faster boarding and de-planing, which airlines like ...

as it means more time in the air generating cash and less pfaffing about on the ground.

Load of bull, the aircraft still have to await their runway 'slots'. Normal people call these flight schedules.

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Big Brother

"owners will be notified if their luggage is tampered with or opened"

You mean when the TSA [They Steal Anything] decide to crowbar it open to have a rummage through it and see if you have any valuables in there?

Or, like happened to a guy I know whose backpack, with easily opened spring clips, arrived at the destination with the fastening straps cut because someone from the TSA was too stupid or lazy to figure out how to open the clips...

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Facepalm

Or maybe they could...

...I dunno, IMPROVE their own baggage handling?

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Facepalm

Pre-Identifying Contents FAIL

LOL...it seems that every time I fly, I see people re-packing bags at the airport, so then they have to update their app to register the new contents while keeping people waiting in line for check-in? Yeah, that'll go over well with the people in line, let alone the counter personnel...

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