I fly fairly often. I don’t fly so often I am always upgraded to first class, but I find myself in a plane at least a couple times a month. Let’s put it this way, I fly frequently enough that my status waives luggage-checking fees.
Despite my loyalty to my airline and frequent travel, I am consistently amazed at how little trust there is in airlines. Customers are wary to surrender their bags out of fear their bags are going to end up lost or on the other side of the country.
I don’t know the actual statistics, but I am confident you recognize this lack of trust in airlines. It seems the vast majority of US travelers take most of their belongings with them on each flight and forgo checking in. The heroic efforts of flight attendants are remarkable as they try to squeeze, push, and rearrange bags to get that amazingly large piece of luggage safely into the bin. Of course, every flight seems to have the last-minute check-in process for the poor souls so late that their clutch purse will need to be checked.
Integration for Transportation
I don’t have this concern because some of the airlines in the US have invested in technology that can restore trust. When I fly on those airlines, I trust the ground baggage handling system is integrated to the system that coordinates the gate of each plane. I trust the baggage tracking system is integrated with the ticketing system such that my bag is forever linked to me as a customer.
Integration is key here because there are many moving parts when you make a trip to the airport. From check-in, to security, to delays, everything and everyone has to be in sync. If every part functions without knowing what the other is doing, bags will be lost, people would miss flights, and traveling would be much more daunting.
Avoiding a Delay
I understand externalities like weather play a factor in these inconveniences, as well as occasional human error. However, I am confident in the event of an unavoidable error, the complex event processing engine that is monitoring this information will notify me to the problem through my phone. In the remarkably few times a bag has missed my connection, I have received a polite email informing me of the delay and giving me the flight number my bag is on. Knowing in advance gives me some peace of mind that my bag is not in Ecuador, when I need it in New York.
Before all of this great technology, I trusted the pilots, the maintenance crew, and the flight attendants to make sure I was safe. With their help and the right technology, I now trust my bag will be routed through separate systems, but then arrive the same place and time I arrive.
If you see me in the airport, I will be the guy calmly waiting in line without a carry-on bag. I trust that they will take care of me, their loyal customer.
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