Air transportation IT specialist SITA and airline operator Lufthansa have joined forces to explore ways to reduce mishandled baggage costs and improve the passenger experience by digitally automating baggage re-flight operations.
Mishandled baggage between two flight connections is a major pain point for the industry, costing billions of dollars each year. The ability to address the issue of staff shortages and baggage mishandling is of paramount importance post-pandemic. Aviation lost around 2,300,000 jobs during the Covid pandemic, while recording US$2.2bn in the cost of mishandled baggage in 2022 – including over 4,000,000 bags mishandled during transfer.
SITA’s WorldTracer Auto Reflight re-flights bags digitally, without any human intervention, reducing cost and inconvenience while contributing to industry efforts towards sustainability and CO2 net-zero targets. With the successful delivery of bags being a top contributor to the passenger experience, it is critical to respond efficiently, keeping passengers informed and in control when things go wrong. SITA’s auto reflight solution proactively notifies passengers on arrival of any delay with their bag, while collecting delivery details and ultimately allowing the passenger to bypass the baggage hall.
The solution automatically suggests suitable flight routing for rush bags (baggage not accompanying a passenger). It uses the original bag tag to re-flight and informs the baggage system of the new bag routing. SITA estimates that widespread automation of reflighting baggage could save the industry US$30m a year in costs associated with mishandled baggage.
Viktoria Rudo, senior manager, Lufthansa Group, said, “At Lufthansa, we have always looked at ways to optimize baggage management processes and improve the passenger journey. We see great potential in the automation of today’s mainly manual re-flighting processes. This is why we have decided to work with SITA to explore possibilities to digitalize the process.”
Sergio Colella, SITA president for Europe, said, “SITA’s automated baggage re-flighting solution is built on the back of past successful co-innovations with Lufthansa and meets a critical industry baggage management requirement as we see the return to the skies. Our aim to make sure that when a bag is mishandled, it is reunited with its owner as soon and simply as possible.”