American Airlines Launches Real-Time Baggage Tracking Service For Travelers

After a long day of traveling the last thing you want to deal with is lost baggage, but, unfortunately, that’s a very real situation for millions of consumers: over the last five years, the Transportation Security Administration paid out $3 million for lost, stolen and damaged baggage. American Airlines is trying to give travelers piece of mind that their bags are well within reach by launching a new bag tracking service.

The carrier rolled out a free real-time online luggage tracking system for checked bags last month, allowing customers to see just where their bag is — from the time it’s handed off at the check-in counter to its arrival on the carousel at the destination airport — the Chicago Tribune reports.

The airline quietly began the new customer-facing service in late August, but chose not to publicize it until employees were used to the new scanning procedures.

“It’s something our customers have been asking for [for] a really long time, and we’re excited to make this available to them,” American Airlines spokeswoman Laura Nedbal tells the Tribune.

The service was created as part of the merger between American and US Airways. American previously only scanned bags as they were loaded onto the aircraft, while US Airways, on the other hand, scanned bags as they were loaded and taken off planes.

Baggage tracking data was previously used only internally, Nedbal said.

Tracking is only available via American’s website for now, where users can click on the “track your bags” button and input their last name and record locator or bag-tag number.

The site will then produce information on six bag-scan touch points, such as ticket counter check-in and loading on and off the aircraft.

Using the service not only lets passengers keep an eye on their bags, it can also save them time. Instead of waiting for your bag to appear on a carousel, users can see right away when their luggage is in the wrong place and head straight to customer service.

The new service won’t change American’s current tracing system where customers can track a lost bag after it’s been reported.

American isn’t the only airline to offer a real-time tracking system for checked bags: Delta Air Lines currently employes a similar service.

American Airlines secretly adds free real-time bag tracking [The Chicago Tribune]