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Old Aug 10, 12, 11:03 pm   #1
 
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[Rumor] Southwest to scan all bags (barcode tags) on and off planes

So in talking with the gentleman working in the CLE baggage office tonight, he mentions that when they finish the FL integration that they will then start (or be able to start) scanning all bags as they are loaded and unloaded. He didn't indicate the significance of why they needed to finish the FL integration first (is this something FL does?), but he did seem pretty confident about it.

I'd like to believe him, but this is still probably a 'believe it when I see it' kinda thing.
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Old Aug 11, 12, 7:37 am   #2
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Other airlines, with bigger networks requiring far larger installations - are doing it today. Whether WN wants to make the investment is a different question.
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Old Aug 11, 12, 7:50 am   #3
 
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Why?

The WN manual system is remarkably good at getting bags where they need to go. It may take more people, but it works.

And it would be on the long list of IT nightmares with which to deal.

If it is just to track the location of the bag and not to sort the bags, I'm OK with that. I just want the people sorting the bags to continue to read the tags and not depend on some scanner to get them on the right plane.
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Old Aug 11, 12, 11:44 am   #4
 
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
Why?
Because the lady I was with last week did not get her bag and WN had several ideas where it might be, but none of them seemed to be correct.
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Old Aug 11, 12, 7:56 pm   #5
 
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Originally Posted by InkUnderNails View Post
If it is just to track the location of the bag and not to sort the bags, I'm OK with that. I just want the people sorting the bags to continue to read the tags and not depend on some scanner to get them on the right plane.
Why? Do you think that bags that are properly tagged get misrouted by automation at other airlines?

Also, with WN offering far more continuing flights than other carriers, I would imagine one specific benefit they'd get would be to catch the case where a bag that's supposed to be offloaded at an intermediate station mistakenly stays on the aircraft. I have no idea how often this happens, but WN would be particularly prone to it due to their schedule.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 6:16 am   #6
 
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Why? Do you think that bags that are properly tagged get misrouted by automation at other airlines?

Also, with WN offering far more continuing flights than other carriers, I would imagine one specific benefit they'd get would be to catch the case where a bag that's supposed to be offloaded at an intermediate station mistakenly stays on the aircraft. I have no idea how often this happens, but WN would be particularly prone to it due to their schedule.
I started flying WN in the mid '90's. I have worked my way up to roughly 100 segments a year. In that entire time, they have misdirected luggage three times and each time it came on the next flight.

AA misdirected my luggage twice on one round trip, going and coming. I did get it back both times after two days and many flights in between. Their automatic system knew exactly where it was, they just could not seem to find a person to pick it up and put it on a plane to where I was. We will not mention DL, NW (RIP), UA and US.

Yes, I do not trust automation. Automation is great when it works. In the failures, it is worse than a manual system. I work in an industrial environment in which automation plays a great part in reducing costs. It also plays a great part in creating delays and disruptions when it does not work. Most places have back up systems to replace the automation when it fails. It is called employees.

Finally, if their computer people are involved in any automated system then there is no way to predict if my luggage will even get on a flight, much less mine.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 12:30 pm   #7
 
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This has nothing to do with FL integration. This is currently agreed upon in the next contract, but that contract is a long ways away from being ratified.
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Old Aug 13, 12, 10:06 am   #8
 
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It's about (bleeping) time, I say.

I have had two experiences with bags not flying the same flights as me this year.

One on Southwest, one on United.

Back in January, I was ticketed on WN MDW-SAN-SJC. I got a text on my way to the airport that MDW-SAN was delayed, and I realized the delay would break my SAN-SJC connection. I went to the ticket counter to check in, get rebooked (MDW-LAS-SJC) and checked my bag.

Upon arrival in SJC, I stood around for 20-30 minutes after bags started coming off the carousel. Carousel stopped spinning, no bag. Went into the WN baggage office. They had no clue where my bag was. They didn't know if it went on the original flight to SAN and was now lost in the system trying to find its way to SJC. Or maybe it got misrouted in LAS (there was plenty of time at LAS for the connection).

They simply had no clue. And that's something that I found very troubling for an airline in the 21st century. They made some guesses, and had me wait around the airport for a little while until the next bank of flights came in.

After those planes arrived, still no bag. Still no clue where it was. I had to get to my hotel (in Oakland), so I gave them the info to deliver it to my hotel.

Finally, around 10 or 11 ish PM, the bag arrived at SJC, and eventually (around 7 or 8 am the next morning) it got delivered to my hotel (barely 30 minutes before I was going to go to the store and buy some clothes for my business meeting and send WN the bill).

Delays and reroutes happen, I understand. But the not having any clue where it is or when it will arrive part is what really got me.

Fast forward to last month, when I'm flying UA BUR-DEN-ORD. BUR-DEN is delayed a bit due to late inbound (on UA Express). We finally land about 20 minutes before the departure of my connection, and I high-tail it over to the next gate. I'm not sure if the bag had enough time to connect.

Upon landing in ORD, I head over to the baggage claim area (I should note that the flight arrived at 1 am, and I was dead tired from all the traveling), still not sure if my bag made it or not. I see a couple of kiosks in baggage claim that actually allow you to check on the status of your bag. Strangely, two of the three kiosks are out of service, saying that between the hours of 11 pm and 4 am (or something like that). Not sure why those computers need to sleep at night. But, in any event, a third computer was up and running. I was able to enter my reservation info in, and it told me right away that my bag was still in Denver, and I was able to submit a claim right there, along with the delivery address for where they should send the bag when it got in.

I didn't even wait for the first bag to come off the carousel to know that it would be a waste of time for me to stand around, for 20-30 minutes, then have to wait in line at the baggage claim office at a time that would be pushing 2 in the morning. Instead, I just grabbed my carryon (and the claim receipt from the machine) and headed straight to a taxi (was too tired to spend wait 25 minutes for the next Blue Line, then spend 50 minutes riding back home).

While others may not necessarily think it's a big deal, I'll say that in the event of a bag delay, the ability to know where your suitcase is and that it's not just "missing" is a huge stress-reliever.
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