It was an undisputedly hectic summer across the aviation spectrum. Cancellations and diversions were in abundance. Yet, one phenomenon that has been at the forefront of the disruptions this year is delayed and lost baggage.
Air travel supply chains have been overwhelmingly stretched. Fewer staff members are available, fees are higher with inflation, and there is pressure from airlines and airports to keep costs down amid the jet fuel crisis. Additionally, many stakeholders are still recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic.
With these factors in mind, Simple Flying caught up with Randel Darby, the CEO and Founder of Airportr Technologies. Airportr has worked with airlines across the globe to help passengers to check in their baggage from home to enjoy contactless, bag-free air travel.
Users can choose a pick-up slot at a convenient time, which is usually the day before a flight. A driver will then secure and seal the bags and take them to the airport before checking them in. This procedure allows travelers to make their way to the airport and hop on the plane stress-free as the bags will be waiting on the carousel at their destination. A door-to-door service is also available between London to Geneva with British Airways, and between Geneva and Zurich with SWISS.
Passengers at busy hubs across the globe have had to wait hours just to check-in a bag this year. Photo: Airportr
Addressing the challenges
Darby highlights that the product not only brings new service-based revenue streams and improves productivity but also reduces pressure during peak periods. This is particularly helpful right now, as the seasonal peaks are bigger due to changes in customer behavior.
A notable challenge for airlines is winning back customer confidence. The ‘summer of lost baggage’ has undoubtedly harmed customer sentiment. More passengers are moving to carry on baggage for fear of it going missing. This is alarming news for the industry, as it is very costly and hard to manage. So, focusing on tracking, automating recovery processes, making claims, and interacting with support channels easier, are things that can be done to help overcome these hurdles.
Airportr’s partnership with the world’s largest ground handle, Swissport, is a significant factor for the business mode. With a footprint in over 280 airports worldwide, the firm chose to deploy its product first in Switzerland with a shared client, SWISS. Swissport handles all operations and service delivery on the ground, using Airportr’s tools and technology. Meanwhile, AIrportr integrates with the airline to distribute the product and generate demand.
The new door-to-door product is set to be extended to other airlines soon and then ultimately into other markets. Airportr’s partnership with Swissport allows it to have massive reach, and the firm’s next few implementations are already underway.
Darby explained the initial response to the door-to-door service:
“We’re playing in real uncharted territory here, which is incredibly exciting. As far as I am aware, and my knowledge of the baggage product arena runs quite deep now, we’re the first company to do ever unlock this. Not like shipping, I know that’s been around for some time, but it’s slow, expensive, poor user experience and arguably doubles up your carbon footprint as a passenger. With Airportr, you can now have bags collected from home, delivered directly to your flight, cleared through Customs at the other end, and delivered to your address in destination, within hours. It’s a game-changer for the industry and for the customer experience. It’s early days, we have the product running on one route. But already we’re seeing users booking the product now not just on one leg of their journey, but two or three, and the feedback is phenomenal, with customers saying catching an international flight, can feel more like catching a train its so easy.”
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In this next chapter, with airlines keen to win customer trust amid ongoing baggage mishandling reports, the focus is now on quality. Airportr is determined to continue providing technological solutions to its partners in the supply chain to conduct operations in a frictionless way. When it comes to ground handling agents and couriers, the firm is keen for its apps, dashboards, and reporting tools to boost efficiency across the spectrum.
Providing £10,000 loss or damage cover with every booking, there are no size or weight restrictions, and the luggage is scanned and sealed with GPS real-time bag tracking. In the current era, where some passengers have been left wondering where their bags are for weeks on end, modern tools such as this will go a long way to alleviate stress.
What are your thoughts about how Airportr is addressing luggage challenges? What do you make of the overall initiatives? Let us know what you think in the comment section.