Energy Conservation at Delta Bag Claim

Old Jun 25, 21, 3:00 pm
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Energy Conservation at Delta Bag Claim

I flew DCA-MSP-STL on Tuesday 6/22, and returned STL-DTW-DCA last night (6/24). I noticed something odd at both STL and DCA when retrieving my checked bag.

The luggage conveyor belt ran exactly as long as it took to move all bags from the cart to the publicly available part of the belt. When all bags had finished passing through the wall and into the baggage claim hall, the belt immediately stopped running. This was in stark contrast to past trips, where the belt started running 3-5 minutes before the first bag emerged, and continued running until the bags had gone around 5-6 times.

Has anyone else observed this?
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Old Jun 25, 21, 3:13 pm
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Originally Posted by ND76 View Post
I flew DCA-MSP-STL on Tuesday 6/22, and returned STL-DTW-DCA last night (6/24). I noticed something odd at both STL and DCA when retrieving my checked bag.

The luggage conveyor belt ran exactly as long as it took to move all bags from the cart to the publicly available part of the belt. When all bags had finished passing through the wall and into the baggage claim hall, the belt immediately stopped running. This was in stark contrast to past trips, where the belt started running 3-5 minutes before the first bag emerged, and continued running until the bags had gone around 5-6 times.

Has anyone else observed this?
Never seen that before but how do they get everyone's bag on the same belt on the customer facing side? It seems like if they stopped it some of the bags would get orphaned 'behind the wall' so to speak.
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Old Jun 25, 21, 3:20 pm
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I'm sure a lot has to do with pax/bag loads ... if there are only, say, 40 checked bags, it's fairly easy to see that none have reappeared 'behind the wall' once the last one is off the cart ... also, the belts at DCA make a 90-degree turn and parallel the wall for ~10 feet before and after the longer section that's perpendicular to the wall

found this in google images search for "baggage claim DCA"

Last edited by jrl767; Jun 25, 21 at 3:26 pm
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Old Jun 25, 21, 7:14 pm
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Generally this is airport policy driven not airline. The airline normally is just renting use of the belts as part of their lease with airport.
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Old Jun 25, 21, 9:52 pm
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Originally Posted by ND76 View Post
I flew DCA-MSP-STL on Tuesday 6/22, and returned STL-DTW-DCA last night (6/24). I noticed something odd at both STL and DCA when retrieving my checked bag.

The luggage conveyor belt ran exactly as long as it took to move all bags from the cart to the publicly available part of the belt. When all bags had finished passing through the wall and into the baggage claim hall, the belt immediately stopped running. This was in stark contrast to past trips, where the belt started running 3-5 minutes before the first bag emerged, and continued running until the bags had gone around 5-6 times.

Has anyone else observed this?
As far as the bag belt starting up in advance, depends on the geography of the airport. There are some, like DCA, where they are literally pulling up the carts the other side of the wall. There are others where there is a more complex system and the bags may travel 2-3 minutes from where placed on the belt downstairs to arriving up to the passengers.
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Old Jun 25, 21, 9:53 pm
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Seems like a pretty low investment energy savings on the part of the airport. Now about those escalators that just run and run and run...
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Old Jun 25, 21, 10:02 pm
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Originally Posted by davedeboston View Post
Seems like a pretty low investment energy savings on the part of the airport. Now about those escalators that just run and run and run...
I've noticed energy saving escalators are appearing more and more.
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Old Jun 26, 21, 10:53 am
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The energy saving escalators are widely used from what I've seen in some EU countries and Japan.. been surprised its taken so long to see them put sensors on them in the US, but I guess nobody is interested in retrofitting.
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Old Jun 26, 21, 12:26 pm
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
The energy saving escalators are widely used from what I've seen in some EU countries and Japan.. been surprised its taken so long to see them put sensors on them in the US, but I guess nobody is interested in retrofitting.
My guess is that the minimal amount of energy saved isn't offset by the cost of replacing the whole escalator.
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Old Jun 26, 21, 1:18 pm
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There’s probably less wear and tear on the belt when it stops like that, which might be a factor too. If all the bags fit on the belt like that then maybe this mode of operation is preferable to passengers so that you don’t risk “missing” your bag and waiting for it to go behind the wall and come back out again.

Somewhere (at a regional airport in the US but I can’t remember where) I’ve seen a baggage claim belt that is just a single straight conveyor belt coming out of the wall and ending in the middle of the baggage claim area without any return (so if it ran too long, bags would theoretically fall off on the floor). I assume it was used just for small regional flights where there would be an upper limit on checked bags, and so the belt would run until all the bags are landslide, and then stop.
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Old Jun 26, 21, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Never seen that before but how do they get everyone's bag on the same belt on the customer facing side? It seems like if they stopped it some of the bags would get orphaned 'behind the wall' so to speak.
I was thinking the same thing.

Originally Posted by davedeboston View Post
Seems like a pretty low investment energy savings on the part of the airport. Now about those escalators that just run and run and run...
Don't give them ideas
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Old Jun 26, 21, 4:13 pm
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I’m DCA based and check bags every time I fly. The baggage handlers here are pretty efficient. Door opens, belt comes on, bags almost immediately come out. They’re loading them just on the other side of the wall. Typically the DL baggage agents are there as well to pull bags off if they go around more than once.

I’ve also seen this type of behavior at small out stations where there aren’t a lot of checked bags. Most recently PMW.
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Old Jun 27, 21, 6:48 pm
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Originally Posted by JAXPax View Post
As far as the bag belt starting up in advance, depends on the geography of the airport. There are some, like DCA, where they are literally pulling up the carts the other side of the wall. There are others where there is a more complex system and the bags may travel 2-3 minutes from where placed on the belt downstairs to arriving up to the passengers.
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Old Jun 28, 21, 7:23 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
My guess is that the minimal amount of energy saved isn't offset by the cost of replacing the whole escalator.
I sure would hope nobody is replacing the entire escalator just for this feature. I do wonder if there are retrofit kits available however with the updated controller and optical/motion sensors.
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Old Jun 28, 21, 10:16 am
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Originally Posted by rylan View Post
I sure would hope nobody is replacing the entire escalator just for this feature. I do wonder if there are retrofit kits available however with the updated controller and optical/motion sensors.
I hate to think how long the wait would be to offset the cost of the new and improved escalator by the energy savings. Of course, it would depend on whether the escalator experiences almost constant versus occasional use.

Sometimes I think the energy savings due to these devices in the EU, Japan, etc. are because dumb American tourists see a stopped escalator or moving walkway, assume that it's out of order, and decide to walk without investigating further.
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