The Cranky Ol' Bat

Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - RuPaul


New Tech for Lost Bags Hits Snags

The good news is there's a system that will cut down on the amount of lost and misplaced checked baggage.

The bad news is that United States airlines and foreign airlines want to use different RFID (radio frequency identification) systems.

If you have ever run a marathon or a half marathon, you are already familiar with this technology. Runners tie a plastic tag onto their shoes that automatically tracks when the racer has crossed the finish line, thereby giving an accurate time when tracking a personal best, and ensuring that the competitors actually ran the race by recording when they crossed different checkpoints. Good luck trying to pull a Rosie Ruiz nowadays!

Domestic airlines want to use a cheaper tag that costs about a quarter, and the foreign carriers want to use one that can store more information about the traveler. RFID systems are already used by many airlines to track their own resources (spare parts, etc.), but this would be the first time that they would be used to track passenger bags.

Currently the only American airport to use (or attempt to use) this technology is Las Vegas' McCarran International, since they and not the airlines handle baggage handling.

Although it looks like the system cuts down lost bags by two-thirds, would enable authorities to grab a bag off for further inspection much faster than they can do currently, would save carriers money in the long run and could even be a marketing advantage for the airlines that adopt all comes down to the initial cost of installation.

If you want to read more about it, check out this NY Times article (free registration required). I love the doublespeak in this quote:

"We're not walking away from it," said Benét Wilson, a Delta spokeswoman. "We're just postponing it indefinitely. We felt we could use our resources in other areas."

Riiiiiight, sister.

UPDATE: Hey, look who's sort of hit the big time! Thanks, Blogger News Network!


  • At 5:14 PM, Anonymous cb said…

    Rosie Ruiz is my kinda athlete:)

    I found an article where they were
    placing RFID in nursing home patients. I guess they have trouble
    losing them or something. Gonna post that one to my blog laters today.

  • At 9:57 PM, Blogger Kory O said…

    That's real scary that a nursing home is losing Granny & Grampy. I'd be damn nervous if my loved ones were there.

  • At 12:02 AM, Anonymous cb/other said…

    Its a hospital that is going to use it. here is the article: 'Reads' Humans with RFID

  • At 12:18 PM, Blogger Kory O said…

    An embedded chip? Wow...I don't know if I like that....
    I have two of them in my dogs, but I don't know about embedded chips in humans!
    Thanks for the link, cb. Will check your blog later for your take on it.


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