Lost bag? Airline now alerts fliers
American’s bar code scanning system lets people know if suitcases don’t arrive.
Airline passengers often must wait at the baggage carousel until every suitcase has been picked up before realizing that their bags didn’t land with them.
Now, Fort Worth-based American Airlines is giving travelers a digital alert if their bags don’t arrive at the same destination at the same time. The alert comes through the contact information provided by the f liers during the booking or checkin process.
Loyalty reward members at American Airlines can also get notices through the airline app.
The alert tells travelers if their luggage has arrived early or will arrive later. If the luggage is arriving late, the alert informs the traveler to head to the Baggage Service Office to arrange a pickup later or notifies the passenger to fill out a mobile baggage order to have the airline deliver the bag to the traveler’s home, office or lodging.
American Airlines’ system relies on bar codes that are printed on each bag label. To keep track of the bags, the bar codes are scanned at several points in the loading and transportation process.
Lost luggage rates have been on the decline in the U.S. over the last few years because of heavy investments by carriers in new technology.
Delta Air Lines, for example, has installed a luggage-tracking system at the major domestic airports served by the Atlanta-based carrier. It relies on radio frequency identification devices on luggage tags.
A study offered by an airline technology company and an industry trade group said the use of RFIDs could enable airlines to successfully track bags 99% of the time, saving the industry $3 billion over the next seven years.
Fares on L.A. route can vary widely
On a flight between Los Angeles and San Francisco — one of the nation’s most popular air routes — a passenger can pay up to six times more for an economy seat than another passenger on the same flight.
That is one of the conclusions of a study by the travel planning app Hopper. The researchers compared the prices of six major carriers and found that United Airlines has the greatest variability in prices on that route. Delta Air Lines has the least.
That means if you fly United on that route, you have the greatest chance of getting a real bargain — and a high likelihood of overpaying for an economy seat. On Delta, the prices vary less, meaning what you pay will be closer to what your fellow passengers pay.
Economy seats on United ranged in price from about $100 round-trip to $550, depending on how far in advance you booked the flight, according to Hopper, which analyzed millions of fares for the study. On Delta, the seats ranged from $150 to $400 round-trip on the same route.
Alaska Airlines sells seats with a bigger price range — from $100 to $600 — than United, but Alaska offers fewer seats that vary in price.
Alex Chang, a data scientist for Hopper, said several factors influence the price of an airline ticket, including how far in advance the seat is booked, how much inventory is available and what rival carriers are charging for the same route.
Celebrities join talk on traffic control
Opponents and supporters of a proposal to turn over the nation’s air traffic control system to a private, nonprofit organization now have celebrity spokesmen to make their case.
The plan has been around for years, but it gained new momentum when it was included in a funding bill by the Trump administration.
Under the concept, the Federal Aviation Administration would turn control of the system over to a panel that would include representatives from airlines, pilot and flight attendants unions and local leaders. Fees from airlines and passengers would fund staffing, maintenance and upgrades.
Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Australia and New Zealand have turned over day-to-day management of their systems to private businesses or independent agencies with at least partial government ownership.
The most recognized opponent of the idea is Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the US Airways pilot who landed a passenger jet on the Hudson River in 2009.
Sullenberger recorded an anti-privatization ad, saying the proposal puts profits ahead of safety. “We can’t trust the people who made your seats smaller to run ATC,” he says in the ad. ATC is short for “air traffic control.”
The celebrity champion of the privatization idea is millionaire Steve Forbes, the publishing executive and former presidential candidate, who said privatizing the air traffic control system would speed up the modernization of a “dysfunctional” system.
He wrote an article for Fox News last week, saying the move would “rescue reform efforts from stifling FAA bureaucracy, federal procurement and personnel rules and partisan politics.”
AMERICAN AIRLINES is giving travelers a digital alert if their bags don’t arrive at the same destination at the same time. The alert comes through the contact information f liers provide during booking or check-in.