Monday, January 7, 2013

Improvement Possible at Baggage Claim

You arrive at the airport, show your ID, get your ticket, seat, and if you are checking in a bag, attached to your luggage is a bag tag, with a matching sticker to the back of your boarding pass. The current Bag tag has a long number, that matches the suitcase to the traveler. 

Most airports I have traveled through, people get off their flight, go to baggage claim, grab their bag(s) and leave. Domestic flights, there may be a friend or relative waiting with the arriving traveler at baggage claims to help yang that 50 pounder off; International flights, lucky enough to get through customs before the bag is pulled off & in that God awful pile to the side of the carousel. Side tangent: I find it funny, sometimes annoying, that mass huddled up under the beginning of the carousel, waiting like an old woman with a card at the Bingo hall (but again, many just want to get their bag(s) and leave the airport), no checking by security.

So here is the issue: What's to stop someone else from grabbing your bag?

Jan 7th, 2013, a news report came out on a group that was stealing bags at baggage claim, and some were quick to jump on the "ya see! public transportation brings crime" nonsense, when they made their get away via the light rail here in Portland, OR. Thankfully, many others understand this is an issue occurring everywhere, regardless of what mode of transit criminals get away on.

The issue: people want their bags, but may not like waiting in a long line, for TSA to match that traditional long number sticker stuck to their ticket and their bags, proving it's theirs. Everyone also, think I can safely say, hates when their bag hasn't arrived. I believe Security Improvement Are Possible at Baggage Claim, starting with that long sticker number.

Let's say, the average flight carries one hundred people, each with 2-3 bags, (that's 200-300 potential checked-in bags per flight). The barcode on the bag tag is for workers & machines behind the scene, but I propose, changing that sticker ticket agent put onto your bag (and the back of your boarding pass) to look like the following (to the right):

If your bag is the 284th bag to be checked in for a flight, that becomes a large, clear to read number on that sticker, which is placed on your bag at check-in. By adding the date, flight number and passenger's name, even on large, overseas flights, that would help keep that "check in number" in the 3 digit range, allowing it to remain in a large font size. 

Yes, we would have to go back to TSA agents checking to ensure that bag belongs to That passenger before leaving the airport, but this Larger number (on the sticker) could make it faster for TSA Agents to match passengers to their bags, let them leave and be one more step in deterring bag thieves at the airport.

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Thanks for taking the time to comment. I do read them and take note. If theres any question you feel to ask, go further into, or even have a resource that you think would help, let me know :)