With the BagAssist suite, it is now possible to simplify daily work, improve staff productivity and flexibility and, at the same time raise quality standards in the lost and found baggage and baggage control areas.

For many years, Lost & Found and Baggage Control Departments have been viewed as end-of-chain, cost centres only in the Air Transportation process. Because of this, technology that traces and handles airline passenger baggage has evolved little over the last decade.

It is, however, intensely frustrating for a passenger at the end of his journey to queue alongside other angry and frustrated passengers, eventually to meet a Lost & Found agent only to be handed a piece of paper with some hand written numbers. Whatever good feeling the passenger had about his travel experience evaporates in seconds at this point.

The provision of Ground Handling services has changed over the years. Traditionally, airlines performed baggage services themselves, through one of their departments and while this situation still exists and indeed some airlines still provide these services for other airlines, more and more airline baggage services are contracted out to independent handling companies. These companies have basically only two differentiators when it comes to competing for business: price and delivered service quality.

The BagAssist suite of products allows ground handlers and / or airlines to differentiate themselves from their competitors by raising overall service quality standards to gain a clear competition advantage in the marketplace.

There is a global basic baggage tracing system in use called WorldTracer™ from SITA. WorldTracer however, requires extensive agent training; as much as two weeks for basic agent training, and another two weeks for management training. Cost and time often prevent baggage agents from attending training sessions and knowledge of this non-intuitive and complex old-fashioned legacy system has dramatically decreased, and is now mainly restricted to WorldTracer Co-ordinators and a few supervisors only.

The BagAssist suite of software was designed to change all that by getting bags to passengers, faster and with greater security. Users of BagAssist are delighted by its simplicity of use and by how its automated functions and intuitive graphical user interface cuts down training time for the agents. The short training time allows the use of interim agents during peak periods. In line with Sky Assist policy, the users can also uniquely influence the direction of BagAssist though their active presence at the product User Conference and its result in the yearly release, and ensure BagAssist meets current business and industry needs. BagAssist product strategy is to address market needs, and deliver enhancements and new functionality quickly.

BagAssist has date syntax validation, verification of mandatory fields, help tips and warning messages, virtually anticipating and eliminating human errors before sending the information to WorldTracer. The airline information pages increase operational efficiency and by having data available on-line, agents are always up-to-date with any changes or special restrictions they need to know; making training and integration of new agents much easier.

Sky Assist is also listed in the SITA WorldTracer communication channel database, even though it is not a customer of SITA. This ensures that all basic changes made to WorldTracer are incorporated into the BagAssist product suite and that the BagAssist customer community stays aligned with the latest industry wide tracing requirements.

The BagAssist suite of products brings a new level of quality and productivity for airport ground handlers and airlines that ground-handle themselves. All the necessary output documents for the passenger are professionally produced in a dynamic way, as are baggage labels and documents for delivery companies. New innovations in BagAssist will ensure that by the end of 2005, passengers in a hurry will be able to stop queuing and make their baggage declarations themselves at the airport on a dedicated PC, based on all required restrictions and following a few intuitive screens.