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Airport Booking Strategy

American Launches Baggage Tracking Service

Following in Delta’s footsteps, American announced a new baggage tracking service that lets travelers know when their baggage arrives (or fails to arrive) at the airport.

In a statement, American said its new Customer Baggage Notification (CBN) system “notifies customers of the status of their checked baggage if the bag is not on the same plane when they land at their destination. Customers receive an alert shortly after arriving at their final destination as well as the next steps to take for resolution.”

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Notably, the baggage tracking service applies to bags that are not, for who knows what reason, on the same plane as you. Put differently, this system fills a customer service gap when something goes awry. As such, customers who sign up can receive one of the following alerts:

  • Early Baggage Arrival – Your bag arrived early and you should pick it up at the Baggage Service Office (BSO).
  • Late Baggage Arrival – Go to the Baggage Service Office. This message directs customers, for example those with an international segment in their reservation, to see an agent at the BSO.
  • Late Baggage Arrival – Mobile Baggage Order (MBO). This message advises customers to fill out a Mobile Baggage Order, or MBO, on their mobile device. The automated MBO asks for the customer’s delivery details and a bag description to help expedite reuniting the customer with their items. By using the MBO, customers no longer need to stop at the BSO to file a claim.

Customers can sign up for the baggage tracking service through American’s app or by providing their contact info when booking, when checking in, or through AAdvantage.

Delta’s baggage tracking service is much more comprehensive, as it makes use of RFID chips embedded in luggage tags to provide real-time updates on your bag’s whereabouts.

American’s CBN is more about avoiding that awful “where did my bag go?” feeling travelers get while an empty baggage carousel spins round and round. This is a good thing, of course, and hopefully signals that more airlines are using technology to solve fundamental customer service problems.

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By Carl Unger

Contributing Editor Carl Unger believes that every trip is worth taking. He loves an extended trip to Europe as much as he enjoys exploring the towns and landscape near home. Basically, you'll find him wherever there is good food, fresh air, and plenty of stories to bring home.

Carl has been writing for SmarterTravel since 2005. His travel writing has also appeared on USA Today and the About.com Boston travel guide.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "It's not revolutionary, but a small Moleskine notebook is my one travel must-have. It's great for noting things you want to remember and it takes up hardly any space in your bag."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "Japan. I'd love to take a month off and visit the cities, temples, and countryside. I'm fascinated by the country's juxtaposition of ancient traditions and modern ambitions."

Travel Motto: “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” –Terry Pratchett

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window."

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