A new technology system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology might be able to help reduce lost baggage on airline travel by 25 percent.
The longtime industry standard for tracking checked bags has used optical bar-code scanners, but now they’re moving it over to the radio frequencies, and Delta is on its way to using it more than any other airline.
The technology has actually been around for a while, and places like the McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas have been using it since 2005. The baggage system at the Las Vegas airport is accurate 99.5 percent of the time, while the regular method of bag tag bar-code scanning is only 80 to 95 percent accurate.
The bag tags look similar in both cases to the naked eye, but in the RFID versions there is actually a small embedded chip and a radio antenna in each tag. This works better because the tag can’t be misread, the information comes from the radio signal. When a normal barcode gets wrinkled or smudged it is possible to get them mixed up.
The more accurate the airlines can get with the bags the first time around, the fewer employees they need around to deal with manually scanning the bags later.