object of disdain low-cost carrier Ryanair is always looking for ways to save a few bucks. From pay-to-piss to the fat tax, the airline has put forth a stream of ideas that really haven’t gotten off the ground. Well, CEO Michael O’Leary has a new one to add to the list: mandatory luggage self-service.
Under this new model, passengers would carry their bags through airport security and drop them at the steps at the bottom of the plane. Turnaround times remain a concern – as they are for the fat tax. Let’s be realistic: the only people in the airport more likely to screw something up than baggage handlers are the passengers themselves.
If you spend 15 minutes staring at the menu at Sbarro and can’t figure the damned thing out, you probably shouldn’t be trusted to carry your own bags.
Most people have a story of an airline losing their luggage. For me, it was en route to Thailand, and I was forced to spend a couple of days wearing my travelling companion’s clothing — too bad she’s about half my size. Luckily, I was prepared and brought a toothbrush, deodorant, some soap and most importantly, an clean pair of underwear with me in my carry-on.
A newish technology is being integrated into a number of airports, and is already in operation at Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport, as well as the Hong Kong International Airport. It’s called RFID — radio frequency identification — and it is embedded into luggage tags.
RFID works much more effectively than the current tracking device, bar codes. And while with bar codes, baggage handlers have to manually search for a bag, RFID allows them to track down the bag’s exact location. So far at McCarran, the technology has 99% accuracy in it’s read rate — the 1% being tags that are unreadable because they’ve slip under the bag handle. It’s relatively cheap too — $0.15 per tag, compared to $1.80 in 1997.
Expect to see this technology at Airports in Paris, Amsterdam, Milan and San Francisco, among others.