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HCL Technologies

Proactive Baggage Management: Enabling Transparency

Proactive Baggage Management: Enabling Transparency
Ashar Pasha - General Manager | October 30, 2013

In 2012 Airlines lost just under 1 bag for every 100 airline passengers. That number might seem low, but it adds up to 26 million mishandled bags in 2012. While baggage handling statistics show a marked improvement over the past few years there are still a number of opportunities to improve this further and to improve the customer experience associated with this process. This blog will focus on how airlines can enable transparency in the baggage management processes.

HCL: Proactive Baggage ManagementIt is familiar scene at airports around the world, an anxious customer waiting at the baggage carousel wondering if their baggage has made it with them on the plane or not.

In my most recent blog The Inevitable Enterprise Transparency: How Will the Airlines Industry Adapt to it? I talked about how connectivity, data and smart phones have ushered in the need for transparency in the Airline industry and how the need for transparency doesn’t stop at customers but also is a key requirement for interaction with partners and employees.  Here, I will talk about how HCL is enabling transparency in the Baggage Management processes at airlines across the globe.

Over 26 million bags were mishandled globally in 2012, which equates to 1 bag for every 100 airline passengers.  This is a marked improvement over the past few years and this can be attributed to three factors

  • IATA’s BIP program where IATA has worked with Airlines and Airports to improve processes impart training and encourage investment in technology. 
  • With Airlines charging for check in baggage many customers have resorted to taking larger carry-on bags to avoid baggage check in fees which have resulted in less bags being checked.
  • Small investments in technology by Airlines to help improve the process

A “mishandled bag” is defined as a checked bag that is delayed, damaged, pilfered, lost or stolen. 

Mishandled Bag

Baggage mishandling can be attributed to many factors including Airlines, Airports and Security.  But 76% of the bags that are delayed are the responsibility of the Airline - these bags are mishandled during the load, unload and transfer process.

As stated before, there is room for improvement in how Airlines handle mishandled baggage, and there is certainly opportunity for improvement in how Airlines communicate about mishandled bags with their customers.  Based on an IATA survey, the on-time arrival of baggage is the second most important travel factor for passengers after the on-time departure and arrival of flights and airlines should be investing further to improve this experience and make this process as transparent as possible.

Technology can help reduce baggage mishandling and the associated customer frustration and increase transparency by employing a host of emerging technologies – Mobility, Big Data and Complex Event Processing (CEP) which enables correlation of data in real time.

Enabling operational employees with ruggedized mobile devices can help make the baggage handling process faster, less stressful for employees and more transparent to the customers.  Operational employees with mobile devices can help scan and track bags at the most important touch points (load, unload and transfer) and enable visibility of the baggage status to all concerned parties: Customers, Baggage and Customer Service Agents and Partners.

With this approach, bags can be tracked and the status made visible at every touch point.  Then using CEP software, Airlines in real time can match the passenger information with the associated baggage information to quickly identify any mishandled baggage. This can be used to notify customers and airline employees in real time — employees can use this to quickly resolve any baggage issues and customers can know that the Airline is working on reuniting their baggage with them and not to waste time at the baggage carousel or the baggage office upon arrival.

One of the most frustrating experiences for a customer when a bag is mishandled is not knowing where the bag is and waiting at the carousel for 30-45 minutes hoping their bag has made it.  If the bag is mishandled another 30-45 minutes can be spent waiting to file a baggage claim.

HCL’s Baggage Management platform is an end-to-end solution to help Airlines reduce baggage mishandling and its associated costs while significantly improving the customer experience. 

Our experts can help Airlines in this journey by:

  • Identifying the right mobile devices for their environment
  • Customizing the mobile devices to an Airline’s baggage handling processes
  • Integrating with other back-end systems and partners.
  • Creating and comparing current KPIs to Airline Industry metrics
  • Helping develop a business case for implementing this program
  • Implementing technology needed to proactively handle baggage mishandling

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