Delta aircraft lined up at Atlanta. You know where your bag is?

Delta aircraft lined up at Atlanta. You know where your bag is?

Delta Air Lines has been making the headlines this last week for kicked off passengers, bomb threats, and job cuts. That is part of the “fun” with being the world’s largest airline — something interesting is always happening. All those stories have been well-covered by other media outlets and I think one story that has fallen between the cracks: luggage tracking.

Having your luggage get lost while traveling is annoying — very annoying. Delta has started a new tracking system to help reduce lost luggage and allows passengers to follow along.

Once a passenger checks in their bag and they are scanned, they can start to follow its process to the bag carousel at their destination.

Delta is the first major airline to try such a new feature and so far they are hearing good things.” Customers have been asking for something like this and we’re pleased to get it up and running,” Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant explained to “The performance has been solid and initial customer feedback is positive.”

Currently this new feature is not integrated into Delta’s smart phone apps, but passengers are able to access it via Delta’s website on any internet-capable devices. So this means that when you board your flight, you might see that your bag did not make it. Although it will cause some disappointment during your flight, Delta flight attendants have gone through briefings on the new system and can better assist customers. This will save you time not having to wait at baggage claim for all the bags to come off before you realize yours didn’t make it. Then having to wait in line to let Delta staff know you do not have your bag.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “the rate of mishandled baggage was 3.59 reports filed per 1,000 passengers in February, an improvement of 8.7% from the prior year’s rate of 3.93 per 1,000 passengers.” Delta is ranked 5th out the airlines tracked by the Transportation Department.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me:
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drew V

…and with WIFI on board flights, I can track my bag that went to Detroit while I’m flying to LA! :)

Yup and stew over it the whole flight :). But better than finding it out after waiting it at baggage claim for an hour.


Scott St John

United does have those Bag Check kiosks where you can scan your bag check to see where your bag is. I would call that a tracking system, but perhaps not quite as internet-savvy!

Hey David,
I like the idea, but how does this help reduce lost luggage? Airlines already track luggage as it goes through their system — they just don’t make it public. Telling the passenger where there luggage is isn’t going stop luggage from being lost. What can a passenger do at 35 000 feet? This system has many flaws, I don’t think it really solves anything other than knowing how long you’ll have to wait at the carousel.

It is nice to see, however, that at least one airline is trying to be more honest.

Hi Bradley – thanks for your comments and appreicate the chance to add to what’s been said here. This is about improving your experience if your bag is delayed. While having visibility to a checked bags journey doesn’t in and of itself redirect bags, it does you better information to make decisions while we get the bag back to you. And, as David alluded, customers don’t have to wait at carousels and can proceed right to our baggage service office if you’re watching it inflight or have signed up for Last Minute Updates on through your SkyMiles account. We’re also hearing from customers what we suspected: visibility to checked bag status is welcomed. When it’s your stuff, and it’s delayed, it’s nice to have a way to keep tabs on it.

Morgan Durrant
Delta Air Lines
Corporate Communications

I think you’ve reiterated what I’ve just said, just in a more positive manner. I believe that this is merely for public image. It doesn’t really provide a direct benefit to the customer. Knowing where your bag is vs. having your bag arrive on time are to completely different things.

John Miles

You may be able to track your bags by WiFi but on a recent trip to Hong Kong our baggage went via Los Angeles and Tokyo before it got to Hong Kong Three days late. We have receipts for about 200 US Dollars for clothes, which is under the limit for 3 Days missing. We have Baggage Tracing Information (2116-8750) our flight numbers which I might add was 8 hours late in taking off at DTW. I have called the Baggage Department with all the numbers and they cannot trace us on their computer!!! So much for Modern day communications. It will be the last time I fly Delta assuming it can be avoided.

Tim Shane

Yesterday, I was re-introduced to the annoyance of lost luggage. As I mucked my way through the claim process, I found it unbelievable that airlines (Frontier) can NOT track baggage in this day of automation. Baggage claim checks have had bar codes for years, and an even better form of I.D. and tracking capabilties is possible with an imbedded RFID tag into your luggage.
At least one good reason to know the location of your baggage, is to know if it went to another city, which could mean days before you get it, or if it will be on the next flight which means you might get it the same day. That’s important if you have critical items such as medication, documents, other media that you may need for your business.
I guess the most insulting aspect of this venture, other than the claim process, is that they CHARGE you to be annoyed.

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