Baggage that is collected from the starting location and received once arriving at the destination - that's what travelers want when they are waiting at baggage claim and dragging their suitcases through the airport and back to the hotel. The dream of many airline passengers is now on the way to reality, thanks to a cross-industry innovation project from Airbus, RIMOWA, and T-Systems. At the 50th International Airshow in Paris, the aircraft manufacturer, baggage manufacturer, and ICT service provider – all experts in their fields – are revealing their smart baggage solution: The vision foresees the first intelligent suitcase that airline passengers can send on a solo journey and make traveling with uncomfortably heavy baggage a distant memory.
A bar code contains all relevant baggage and flight information
The intelligent suitcase is fitted with a radio and software module with a display. The airline passenger inputs all of the necessary flight data via a smartphone app and transmits it to the airline, which generates a bar code and sends this to the display of the unit on the suitcase. This bar code assigns the baggage a unique identifier linked to the passenger, and is used for checking in the baggage and forwarding it to its destination. A separate bar code is created for each flight containing information such as the weight of the suitcase and who its owner is, along with all of the flight details. This data allows the suitcase to go traveling independently of its owner, right to the destination – even if flights are changed or canceled at short notice, or a connecting flight is not made.
The smart suitcase is enabled to tell its owner and the airline exactly where it is at any time at the touch of a button – except during flight. The smart baggage solution also registers whether a suitcase was opened during its journey and informs the owner when and where this occurred. Passengers just travel light with handy cabin baggage and no longer have to carry heavy suitcases to the check-in desk or wait around in baggage claim after landing. This substantially cuts waiting time at check-in and upon arrival. Additionally, airline passengers retain full control over their baggage and the weightiest part of any airline trip is a thing of the past.
Airlines can reduce costs associated with missing baggage
The smart suitcase can reduce baggage handling costs for airlines as well as costs associated with missing baggage. According to SITA, an organization specializing in aviation data, airlines incur losses of some USD 2.5 billion every year from lost or delayed baggage, with more than 11 items of baggage for every 1,000 passengers going missing completely or for days at a time.
T-Systems developed the information and telecommunications solution required globally for this cross-industry innovation, and operates the applications in its own data centers. The partners are planning to continue collaborating on additional airport and mobility solutions for customers of Airbus, RIMOWA, and T-Systems. This will enable airlines and logistics companies to offer their customers a baggage pick-up and drop-off service from home to their destination, such as a hotel. It might also be possible in future to lease smart baggage for a business trip or holiday. More service providers will be brought on board as the concept develops.