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August 03, 2017

You can now track your lost luggage on the American Airlines app

Recent American Airlines projects have been trying to make flying less annoying, like the lush new VIP lounges at select airports (including in Philadelphia). The latest? The airline is attempting to end the agony of losing your luggage.

A new feature on the American Airlines app, Customer Baggage Notification (CBN), is designed to keep passengers updated on the whereabouts of their luggage if it ends up on another carrier or if something else goes awry.

“Customers receive an alert shortly after arriving at their final destination as well as the next steps to take for resolution,” American Airlines said in a statement.

You’ll get an alert if the bag arrives before or after your plane, sending you to the baggage service office for pickup. If you need to fill out a mobile baggage order so that the bag can be delivered to you at home, the app will let you know and you can fill out an order form from your phone, saving you a trip to the baggage service office.

The app won’t completely negate the possibility of losing your luggage, but it could at least save you from running around the airport, disheveled and fatigued, after your flight.

This is the latest in an ongoing move for airlines to incorporate technology to help take out some of the common miseries associated with airplane travel. For this American Airlines feature, barcodes printed on each checked bag are essential for tracking for both the airline and the bag’s owner.

Similarly, Delta Airlines implemented a domestic luggage tracking system at major airports by adding radio frequency identification devices (RFIDs) to its luggage tags.

If more airlines start implementing such practices and current airlines continue to streamline their tracking services, we have a decent shot at pretty much always being able to find our luggage. In a study cited by the Los Angeles Times, it was reported that using RFIDs could successfully find bags 99 percent of the time and save the airline industry about $3 billion.