HANDLED WITH CARE妥善付運

What happens to your bag after you check in? PHIL HEARD reports你的行李在寄艙後有什麼遭遇? Phil Heard告訴你箇中詳情

Discovery - - CURATED -

Of all the sinking feelings, the most profound has to be realising your suitcase is not going to appear on the airport conveyor belt – and the realisation that you’re now stuck in the clothes you’re wearing for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, the number of incidents of lost or ‘short-shipped’ bags – those that do not make it onto your flight – are falling, particularly on flights from Hong Kong. To the Cathay Pacific team at Hong Kong International Airport, that’s a point of pride.

While above ground the airport is running to near capacity with evergrowing passenger numbers, deep in the basement something miraculous takes place each day. Passengers’ bags make their own journey from check-in counter or transfer aircraft through a labyrinth of conveyor belts – and pretty much always get to where they should be going.

It’s the technology that makes the difference. For departing bags, luggage is accepted at the check-in counter, a baggage tag containing a RFID (radiofrequency identification) chip is attached, which means it can be tracked – similar to the technology used to track online shopping purchases.

Bags are then dispatched along the conveyor belt into the baggage handling system. Bags are security screened, then sorted into the right loading area before being transferred into the appropriate container for flight. Then the container is towed to the aircraft for loading into the hold.

It’s critical this works, says Henry Lau, assistant manager baggage services. ‘ We are a customer- centric organisation and that is not just about passengers; their bags are an important part of the overall experience,’ he says.

While hold bags are often ‘out of sight, out of mind’, they come crashing to the fore if they’re not there when passengers get off the aircraft, as Parry Fung, assistant manager of baggage claims explains: ‘If a customer doesn’t have their bags, their experience is ruined.’

However, thanks to Lau and Fung – who have 48 years of baggage experience between them – and their team of 76 at Hong Kong International Airport, these incidents are becoming rarer; even as challenges mount.

Last year, more than 31 million pieces of luggage were sent on their way from Hong Kong, around 12 million of which belonged to Cathay Pacific passengers and nearly five million to Cathay Dragon’s.

當你站在機場的李行 輸送帶旁,發現久候不至的李行 最終沒有出現,而你就只有身上穿的著 這套衣服,未來幾天沒有其他衣物替換時,難免會感沮到喪。幸好,近年因遺失或「未能及時付運」的李目行 數 不斷下降,特別是從香港起飛的航機最為顯。著 對於香港國際機場的國泰航空團隊來說,這是一項值得自豪的。成就

雖然每日在機場地面往來出入的乘客人數不斷增,加 已接近飽的和 程度,但機場的地下室卻每天都有奇妙的事情發生。乘客在機場登機櫃檯寄艙的行李,或通過迷宮般的輸送帶運送的轉機行李,大多能準確無誤地抵達目的地。

能夠做到這一點,完全是科技的功勞。境李出 行 在登機櫃檯完成寄艙手續後,工作人員就會在上面貼上附有射頻識別( RFID)晶片行標的 李 籤,這樣就可以追蹤行李的下落。這種技術與追蹤網上購物後送貨的技術相仿。

寄艙的李沿行 會 著輸送帶送至行李處理系,統 通過安全檢查掃描之後,再分配至正的確 裝載區域,然後載入所屬班機的集裝箱內,再以拖車將集裝箱拉到飛機旁,再裝進機上的貨艙內。

行李服務助理經理劉浩然表示,這個運送系的用統 作 舉足輕重。:他說 「我們是一個以客為本的機構,牽涉的不只旅客本身,他們的李行 在整體旅途經驗亦中 佔有重要的位置。」

When transfers are involved, the likelihood of short-shipped bags increases. Transfer times are tight at the best of times, but air traffic control limitations (particularly on connecting flights from China) and the disruptive effects of the weather can narrow this if incoming aircraft are subject to delays. Nevertheless, in the year to May, just before the first of the seasonal typhoons hit, the team’s overall performance had met or exceeded the industry standard.

In part, this success is thanks to last year’s introduction of a programme to further reduce the mishandling of baggage at Hong Kong International Airport, improving communication between staff to ensure that the right flights are prioritised to reduce misplaced bags. This new programme almost halved the anticipated short-shipments during June’s Typhoon Merbok.

Nonetheless, each month the team has to deal with misplaced bags. Of these, around 95 per cent belong to transfer passengers; only a few will have been checked in at Hong Kong.

The recovery rate – that is, returning bags to their owners – is impressive. Fung leads this effort, and is rightly proud of the greater than 99 per cent success rate. ‘My job is to regain and restore the confidence of passengers in the airline,’ he says. ‘I pick up the baggage claims and make the settlement with passengers for damaged and missing bags.’

Sometimes bags will have passed through three or four airports, so communication is vital here as well. Lau adds: ‘ This recovery rate is an achievement because some of these bags involve multiple connections.’

While Hong Kong has adopted RFID technology, not all the world’s airports have yet, so rather than ‘track and trace’, it’s ‘describe and tell’. Fung says it’s common to receive calls from Cathay Pacific passengers at airports not on the airlines’ network. He adds: ‘ They will call Hong Kong because they have more faith in us.’

And that’s what this team does best – and they have letters and cakes delivered by grateful customers as proof. ‘Each bag has its own story,’ says Lau. ‘It’s not just about price, it’s sentimental value.’

And it’s one of the reasons that Fung and so many of the team have served 30 years or more. He says: ‘If this were just a job, if it were automated, we’d be like robots. But getting people back their possessions is real satisfaction.’

行李寄艙後,乘客通常就會安然登機,不再掛心。可是當乘客下機之後,發現行李沒有出現,他們就會變得十分焦急。行李索償助理經理馮達權解釋:「如果乘客的行李遺失了,整趟旅行就會變得十分掃興。」

不過,有賴劉浩然和馮達權兩位,他們在行李運輸服務方面合共有48年的豐富經驗,加上在香港國際機場服務的76人團隊,即使面對的難題日益增加,這種令人失望的情況卻得以逐漸減少。

去年,共有3,100多萬件行李運出香港,其中約有1,200萬件屬於國泰航空的乘客,接近500萬件是國泰港龍航空乘客的行李。

如果涉及轉機,未能及時付運的行李就有可能增加。即使機場運作順暢,一般轉機時間都相當緊迫,加上空中交通管制,如果銜接的班機是從中國飛來香港的話,情況可能更難控制;此外,因惡劣天氣造成入境班機延誤,亦可能使轉機時間被迫縮短。儘管如此,今年截至5月份,就在第一個季節性颱風來襲之前,該團隊的總體表現已經達到或超越業界要求的標準。

這項成就有一部分必須歸功於去年推出的一項計劃。該計劃確保員工之間有更佳的溝通方式,排列出最佳的航班先後次序,令香港國際機場出現的不當處理行李數目進一步減少。在6月颱風苗柏來襲期間,這項新計劃使預期未能及時付運的行李幾乎減少一半。

不過,該團隊每個月都必須處理遺失行李。這些遺失行李當中約有95%屬於轉機乘客,只有極少數是在香港辦理寄艙手續的行李。

但令人佩服的是尋回率,也就是將行李物歸原主的百分比。馮達權是這項任務的主管,他對超過99%的成功率深感自豪。他表示:「我的職責是令乘客重拾對航空公司的信心。當我收到乘客的行李索償申報時,會盡快為他們處理損毀和遺失行李的賠償手續。」

有時候行李會輾轉經過三、四個機場,所以溝通也是十分重要。劉浩然補充說:「如此高的尋回率是一項了不起的成就,因為有些行李曾經過多個轉機地點。」

雖然香港機場已採用RFID技術,但並非全球所有機場都配備這項技術,所以找回行李的方法往往並非「搜尋和追踪」,而是「描述和說明」。馮達權表示,經常有國泰航空乘客在非國泰航空網絡的機場打電話來。他補充說:「乘客會打電話到香港,因為他們對我們比較有信心。」

這是行李服務團隊最擅長的工作,滿心感激的乘客寄來的感謝信和送來的蛋糕,足以證明這一點。劉浩然說:「每一件行李都有自己的故事。這並非單純與金錢有關,還有濃厚的感情在其中。」

正是由於這個原因,馮達權和團隊多位成員在這個崗位上服務超過30年。他說:「如果這只是一份工作,如果一切都是自動化,那麼我們就跟機械人無異。但是讓人們取回屬於自己的失物,為我們帶來真正的滿足感。」

WHEN TRANSFERS ARE INVOLVED, THE LIKELIHOOD OF SHORT- SHIPPED BAGS INCREASES如果涉及轉機,未能及時付運的行李就有可能增加

Newspapers in Chinese (Traditional)

Newspapers from Hong Kong

© PressReader. All rights reserved.