Can the disruption of baggage be corrected?

Guest Author by Guest Author | Apr 1, 2018

Written by Wissam Andary, Sales Manager, EMEA, Vanderlande Industries B.V.

A term like “disruption” is commonplace in business world language to describe inconveniences affecting customers. Is it also relevant for baggage systems in the air travel industry?

Observe, for example, some current trends:

  • inefficient use of baggage systems designed for peak capacity;
  • baggage surcharges, which vary among airlines and frequent flyer status;
  • fragmented baggage processes that increase complexity and costs.

Disruption has already started to happen in some places and is developing more and more in others. At present, the air travel industry is not paying much attention to the consequences of this kind of disruption.

The industry is faced with a choice. Either take the “wait-and-see” approach or shape the future by putting forward a vision and implementing successful baggage systems. There are many reasons why taking the first approach is not optimal. It could result in losing control and not being able to fulfil the baggage promise to the passenger or in losing business to disruptors.

The baggage as a service initiative’s purpose is to put forward a vision for baggage, discuss the requirements to make it happen and call upon the air travel industry for action to make the changes.

The vision for the future of baggage systems is based on four key points:

  • Focus on passengers: to realize the vision, industry players must see things more from the passenger’s point of view.
  • Cooperation: the current baggage process is too fragmented. Industry players need to cooperate more effectively in more areas.
  • Legislation: new legislation is necessary, for example, to allow bags to travel independently from the passengers who own them.
  • Supply-chain control: one party in the industry needs to assume control and responsibility for the whole baggage chain.

In short, the passenger experience is paramount. Business models for airports and airlines would change significantly by holding baggage travels ‘door to door’ and mandating that carry-on baggage is for immediate needs only.

When can the vision become reality? Available technology, processes and infrastructure are already in place and are not considered roadblocks. However, to continue to make progress, industry players need to start experimenting and sharing experiences to further shape the vision. International Air Transport Association (IATA) and ACI World should both be involved in supporting this process as mediators and facilitators with legislators and airline authorities.

Even though passengers see it as an expected service, a seamless baggage system may become a key buying factor. It will certainly become a differentiator when comparing various transportation modes (e.g. train versus plane) and, as such, an enabler for growth in the aviation sector.

The article was provided by a third party and, as such, the views expressed therein and/or presented are their own and may not represent or reflect the views of ACI, its management, Board, or members. Readers should not act on the basis of any information contained in the blog without referring to applicable laws and regulations and/or without appropriate professional advice.

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