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MartynSinclair hits on a valid point. Why hasn’t technology evolved in baggage handling?
If new luggage was brought to market which incorporated RFID (Radio Frequency ID) technology then it would be possible to have a central register of who owns which bag.
Then, when checking-in, all that needs to happen is a database gets updated linking the passenger, the route they’re travelling and the luggage (if RFID chipped). It could even link the loyalty programme (such as miles and more) and the passport number.
The possibility of someone walking away with someone else’s luggage would be virtually zero, especially if one had to pass through a scanner on entrance into customs. It could soon be flagged if a case was moving through the RFID scanner alongside a person who was not ‘tagged’ to that bag.
Whilst that’s just an abstract concept, it never ceases to amaze me that we have such an antiquated way of routing luggage. That is, barcodes on bits of sticky paper! Surely we can do better and as I understand it, RFID is now a mature technology and relatively cheap.
If mobile phones can have an IMEI number which is unique to them and cannot be easily changed, which is linked to a SIM card and the owner, then why not the same with luggage?
For now, my method is to use a thick permanent marker to write my mobile number onto the base of each case (including the international code of course). I’m more concerned with keeping my bags close or getting them to me quickly, than I am with the cosmetics of it. As a frequent traveller, it’s proved its worth many times over the years and cannot get pulled off like a tag.