HANDLED WITH CARE悉心照顧

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

SilkRoad - - CATHAY DRAGON NEWS -

IT'S A SINKING FEELING, the realisation that your suitcase is not going to appear on the airport conveyor belt – and 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 (radio-frequency 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.

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 has met or exceeded the industry standard.

當你站在機場行李輸送帶旁,發現久候不至的李行 最終沒有出現,只而你 有身上穿著的這套衣服,未來幾天沒有其他衣物替換,時 難免會感沮。到 喪 幸好,近年因遺失未或「 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。著對於香港國際的機場 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。出境行李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。」

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。」

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