Geneva/Zurich — Swissport International, the world’s leading provider of ground services to the aviation sector, has marked a further e-services milestone with the introduction of a new self-service facility for reporting lost baggage. The new lost and found self-service kiosk enables any traveller who finds that their baggage is missing on arrival at Geneva Airport to swiftly enter all the relevant details and obtain the latest information on their delayed or missing bag.

The traveller enters the details of the item(s) concerned at a special self-service terminal. Swissport’s new facility, one of the first of its kind and provided by a ground handler with a direct link to Worldtracer, came into use at the end of August 2009, and is available to travellers on SWISS, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, FlyBaboo, Alitalia, Air Malta and further air carriers.

The innovative new system, which has been developed in collaboration with Swissport’s Belgian-based partner SkyAssist, enables the traveller to scan-in their boarding pass with all their flight’s details, describe the missing item using a touch-screen function, and enter their contact details for the item’s subsequent delivery. The new facility thus totally eliminates the sometimes long wait to communicate all these details to local lost and found staff.

Once they have entered all the information required, the traveller will receive a printout from the machine, giving the airline’s contact details together with a status report on whether the item has already been found and/or when the customer can expect to receive it. Initial experience suggests that this new form of lost-baggage reporting has been well received by the travellers using it, not least because they feel they are contributing directly and actively to the baggage tracing process, rather than dealing with the busy phone lines of the airline or the airport concerned.

Still no guarantee that bags won’t go astray

The new self-service lost-baggage facility is part of a broader drive to automate airport processes, and is a logical extension of existing self-service facilities such as internet check-in and the self-check-in devices that are now provided on many departure concourses. Despite the new technology, however, a delayed or misdirected baggage item must still be registered at an airport before its location is reported via the system and arrangements can be made to send it on to the owner.

Excessively tight connecting times at major airports still remain the prime reason that travellers’ bags are lost or delayed. However, a number of working groups for IATA, airlines, airports, and ground-handling companies are looking into further improvements.

Swissport and SkyAssist will be monitoring passengers’ experiences with the new self-service lost-baggage reporting facility at Geneva Airport. They will then use these experiences to further refine the innovative technology involved and offer this facility to further business partners in the aviation sector.