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Old 08-28-2016, 10:11 AM   #1  
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Joined APC: Feb 2016
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Default Cellular bag tracker and smart luggage

Airlines world-wide accounted for 23 million pieces of lost or delayed luggage in 2015. Most bags were eventually returned, but not before their disappearance ruined lots of vacations, weddings or business meetings. The rate of mishandled bags improved by 10% last year, but still translates into one lost bag on every flight of 150 people.

Delta Air Lines is the first to switch to all baggage tags embedded with radio-frequency ID (or RFID) chips in the paper—very thin panels about the size of a business card. Your bag broadcasts information to receivers instead of having optical scanners try to read the bar code printed on the tag. Think of it as a toll tag for your luggage.

The upgrade is costing Delta $50 million this year and the system likely will be turned on by the holidays, says Bill Lentsch, Delta’s senior vice president of airport customer service and airline operations. Delta agents are already printing RFID tags, which cost almost 10 cents each compared with a few pennies for a regular paper tag. The airline is also in the process of installing receivers all over baggage-handling facilities, from the belts behind ticket counters to the loaders that move bags into planes.

Trakdot and LugLoc are two devices about the size of a wallet that you put in your suitcase. Both connect to cellular towers and can signal their approximate location to you with an app.

The Bluesmart GPS tracking bag is an early adopter of intelligent luggage features. It can recharge smartphones and other electronics and lock itself when you leave your hotel room. It has a built-in scale, but gives varying weights depending on how you hold the handle. It’ll send your phone a message if you’re leaving it behind—useful for the forgetful, no doubt. The bag can use cellular networks as a backup to get a rough location if it doesn’t get a GPS signal. No subscription is required.

Airlines, Trackers Aim to Prevent a Travel Nightmare: Lost Luggage - WSJ
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