- Automating the repatriation of bags is faster than ever before despite staffing shortages
SITA and Lufthansa have joined forces to explore ways to reduce mishandled baggage costs and improve the passenger experience by digitally automating baggage re-flight operations. Mishandled baggage between two flight connections is a major pain point for the industry, costing it billions of dollars each year.
The ability to address the issue of staff shortages and baggage mishandling is of paramount importance post-pandemic. Aviation lost around 2.3 million jobs during COVID, while recording US$2.2 billion in the cost of mishandled baggage in 2022 – including over 4 million bags mishandled during transfer.
SITA’s WorldTracer Auto Reflight reflights bags digitally, without any human intervention, reducing cost and inconvenience while contributing to industry efforts towards sustainability and CO2 net-zero targets. With the successful delivery of bags being a top contributor to the passenger experience, it is critical to respond efficiently, keeping passengers informed and in control when things go wrong. SITA’s auto reflight solution proactively notifies passengers on arrival of any delay with their bag, while collecting delivery details and ultimately allowing the passenger to bypass the baggage hall.
The solution automatically suggests suitable flight routing for rush bags (baggage not accompanying a passenger). It uses the original bag tag to reflight and informs the baggage system of the new bag routing. Time is saved, and paper consumption is reduced, because there is no need to issue additional rush tags. SITA estimates that widespread automation of reflighting baggage could save the industry US$30 million a year in costs associated with mishandled baggage.
Viktoria Rudo, Senior Manager, Lufthansa Group, said: “At Lufthansa, we have always looked at ways to optimize baggage management processes and improve the passenger journey. We see great potential in the automation of today’s mainly manual reflighting processes. This is why we have decided to work with SITA to explore possibilities to digitalize the process. “Based on the first results of our Proof of Concept, we believe to be able to automatically reflight as much as 70% of Lufthansa´s mishandled bags at Munich Airport. Interpolating this to our global network, we expect more up-to-date information and further improvements in the mishandled baggage processes for Lufthansa and high potential for other SITA airline customers by digitalizing what was previously a totally manual process.”
After a number of joint developments with Lufthansa already (including WorldTracer Desktop and WorldTracer Passenger Self Services), the SITA automated baggage reflighting solution represents a joint innovation project to further automate and optimize Lufthansa’s Baggage Management Services.
Sergio Colella, SITA President for Europe, said: “SITA’s automated baggage reflighting solution is built on the back of past successful co-innovations with Lufthansa and meets a critical industry baggage management requirement as we see the return to the skies. Our aim to make sure that when a bag is mishandled, it is reunited with its owner as soon and simply as possible.”