Avoiding Mishandled Bags

Aug. 11, 2022
Baggage handling is just one portion of the turnaround process, but it is key to keeping passengers happy.
Josh Smith
Josh Smith

Effective baggage handling is key to the passenger experience. While other tasks that make up an aircraft turnaround may go unnoticed by the flying public, all passengers have a vested interest in their luggage arriving at their destination.

The importance of baggage handling has been underscored recently as negative media attention on lost luggage has put a spotlight on the issue.

According to SITA’s 2022 Baggage IT Insights report, the mishandled baggage rate has increased by 24 percent to 4.35 bags per thousand passengers in 2021. The resumption of international and long-haul flights contributed to this increase in mishandling, according to SITA’s findings.

Baggage mishaps are creating frustrations for both passengers and ground handlers, alike. As passengers flock back to air travel at a high rate, members of the ground handling workforce are not returning at the same pace.

This is compounding the issue as the current workforce scrambles to repatriate bags with their passengers. The added stress is leading to burnout. In fact, a recent survey of 1,700 airport workers in the United Kingdom conducted by CV-Library indicated as many as 40 percent of those individuals are considering resigning. Chief among their reasons is a desire to reduce stress.

Utilizing technology can relieve some of these pain points. For example, self-service bag drop solutions require less airport personnel. Technology also provides more transparency for passengers as they track their bag along their journey. And the latest tech can reconnect passengers with luggage when it is mishandled.

In the executive summary of SITA’s 2022 Baggage IT Insights report, David Lavorel, CEO at SITA, highlighted the investment in self-service baggage solutions in the past year.

“A large majority of airports and almost all airlines are prioritizing touchless bag tagging options that rely on kiosks and passengers' mobile devices. Implementation of unassisted bag drop is increasing, with 90 percent of airlines and three-quarters of airports planning to make touchless unassisted self-bag drop available by 2024,” he wrote.

The passenger experience through commercial airports looks very different than it did at the end of 2019. Airlines and ground service providers will need to continue adapting to changes in the industry and adopt new practices, especially considering current staffing levels across the industry.