Virgin Australia joins the small group of airlines offering luggage tracking.

Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 under a water canon salute.
Photo: Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia is joining the latest craze in improving customer service: baggage tracking. Virgin Australia is the first Australian airline to offer such an upgrade to the passenger experience – but far from the first airline to do so.

Why did Virgin Australia innovate tracking your luggage?

Executive Traveler cites this quote from a Virgin Australia spokesperson, which states that the airline is…

“…proud to be the first Australian airline to introduce bag tracking capabilities for checked luggage, with our pilot program commencing on services between Brisbane and Sydney. For 23 years, Virgin Australia has consistently innovated and the introduction of bag tracking capabilities is another installment of our award-winning product offering.”

March 25 2018: Virgin Australia Boeing 777 aerial view at Sydney International Airport. Aircraft registered as VH-VOZ. Australian airline in debt entering voluntary administration

Photo: Thiago B Trevisan via Shutterstock

This is another innovation right up there with the middle seat lottery -where those who choose a middle seat can win travel experiences – bringing in-flight WiFi to Australia and a vision-impaired user interface for inflight entertainment.

How will Virgin Australia track your luggage?

You can now download the Virgin Australia app to your smartphone and track your luggage. According to the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the feature on the airline’s website, you can enable push notifications from the app.

“A push notification will be sent when your bag has been checked in and again upon arrival at your destination to let you know which carousel your bag can be collected from.”

Alternatively, a limited-capability luggage tracker can be accessed via the Virgin Australia website. However, not all Australian airports are ready to support bag tracking. The functionality will depend on the specific flight.

Airport Conveyor belt for picking up goods at the airport. Sydney Kingsford Smith airport, 30 December 2022

Photo: wisely via Shutterstock

The tracking depends on the airports having the right technology in their infrastructure. According to Executive Traveler, the tracking functions by scanning bags as the luggage goes through the airport, which is quite different to how personal solutions such as AirTags work. For the passenger, this will mean you’ll know when the bag is loaded on the aircraft and, at the other end, the precise moment it pops out onto the conveyer belt at baggage reclaim.

List of initial Virgin Australia flights offering bag tracking

According to Australian Frequent Traveler, beyond the Brisbane-Sydney route, these routes will have luggage tracking by mid-2023:

  • Adelaide – Brisbane
  • Adelaide – Gold Coast
  • Adelaide – Melbourne
  • Adelaide – Perth
  • Adelaide – Sydney
  • Brisbane – Melbourne
  • Brisbane – Perth
  • Brisbane – Sydney
  • Gold Coast – Melbourne
  • Gold Coast – Sydney
  • Melbourne – Perth
  • Melbourne – Sydney
  • Perth – Sydney

The plan is to push beyond the above initial list to smaller regional airports like Hobart in Tasmania.

Other airlines offering luggage tracking

Many other airlines are also now offering luggage tracking, such as Air New Zealand and, in the US, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines all offer bag tracking. China Eastern and Korean Air have also invested in such efforts, but their solutions are also limited in some respects. Nonetheless, the ability to scan at check-in and drop-off is a capability many airlines are seemingly interested in.

Do you want your airline to provide luggage tracking via an app? Please share in the comments.

Sources: Australian Frequent Traveler, Executive Traveler, Triplem


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