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Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

posts: 2,096
reviews: 168
Luggage tags - electronic tracking?


Over the years I have had a number of bags which don't turn up at our home destination. This has been no problem and they always turn up on the next flight. It is usually due to short timeframes in between connections on Australian domestic flights where the luggage didn't make it to our home route but we did. Our luggage has always turned up so I've never been overly concerned. Last year on a trip to Thailand our luggage went astray for two days.

My hubbie and I have the Qantas electronic bag tags - free with Qantas club. I was considering purchasing 2 for my kids $50 each (on special at the moment 2 for price of 1). Are these able to be tracked on all airlines or just Qantas? The Qantas bag handlers at Darwin airport thought they are trackable and although they are Qantas tags other airlines will use them also. Is this true??

Thanks Lou

Portland, Oregon
posts: 10,125
reviews: 43
1. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

I seriously doubt that other airlines could currently track with these tags, but it certainly would be wonderful. If they can track packages (we have wonderful tracking with UPS and Fedex in the States), why can't they track bags throughout the world. The only hindrance would be training airport personnel to scan them through. I can see a possible increase in baggage charges here? (a worldwide computer system means added cost to the public)

Edited: 10:16 am, January 30, 2013
Detroit, MI
Destination Expert
for Detroit, Travel Gadgets and Gear
posts: 5,306
2. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

My guess is that it is just an RFID chip. Only airlines that have RFID readers throughout their systems, and access to the Qantas database, would be able to make use of it. The vast majority of airlines are still using bar codes only, so it won't be any help.

In the long run it might end up being a cost savings for the airlines as they would no loner have to print and attach paper tags. It might be a more reliable system if RFID readers can pick up bag movement without a human individually scanning each bag as it is loaded in the hold. Of course not everyone will have one of these tags, so the airline would have to attach temporary RFID tags, which cost more than barcode tags. I also own four or five bags that I could potentially check, so I would have to remember to move my tag (doubtful) or get a temporary one at the airport.

I don't think the computer system would be a big deal - that already exists since your bag tag info gets attached to your PNR. The issue would be investing in RFID readers throughout the network.

UPS and FedEx still rely on barcodes. It is just much easier to automatically scan since their packages tend to be nice rectangles with a nice big barcode permanently adhered to cardboard.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
posts: 62,235
reviews: 12
3. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

At least some airlines can track luggage through the bar codes on the printed luggage tags.

In 2011, we flex Alaska PDX-SFO, then a 5-hour layover before United SFO-SYD. Alaska checked the luggage through to SYD. During those 5 hours, either SFO airport or United mislaid the luggage.

At luggage collection at Sydney, there was a United staff member near the carousel. When she saw us looking forlornly at an empty carousel, she asked to see our luggage tag stubs. She scanned them with a small barcode reader, and immediately told us that the luggage was still at SFO.

It was delivered to our house the next day, with United having done the work of getting Customs and Quarantine clearance.

Gladstone, Australia
posts: 5
4. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

I don't think the Q-tags are an improvement, they might look flash but our luggage still went missing and ended up in Cairns instead of Brisbane. 24 hours later and luggage is still in transit somewhere (I wonder if we can claim frequent flyer miles on our luggage?). I am going to remove these from all luggage and go back to good old plastic / written tags. At least people can read these.

Destination Expert
for Israel
posts: 26,863
reviews: 18
5. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

"(I wonder if we can claim frequent flyer miles on our luggage?)"

Reminds me of a cartoon I saw about 35 years ago. Man is buying an airline ticket and he says to the agent, " I'd like a ticket to where ever you are planning to send my bags!"

Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
posts: 10,615
reviews: 245
6. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

I think there is now a luggage tag on sale which interfaces with SITA and all International airlines and airports.I will do some research and maybe post a link.


Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
posts: 10,615
reviews: 245
7. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

Found the link

Looks like a really good buy


Gladstone, Australia
posts: 5
8. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

Great link, I think we will investigate this. Our luggage did eventually turn up but not after handlers blamed a faulty luggage tag (?).

9. Re: Luggage tags - electronic tracking?

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