Mitigating Luggage Delay: Taking An Innovative and Holistic Approach

By Bishal Sharma
12th July, 2021

Every year, millions of pieces of luggage are delayed, adding to the frustration and inconvenience of flight passengers. Most of these delays can be alleviated significantly with the help of innovative technologies that facilitate efficient communication, better predictability, and efficient mobilization of the ground handling staff. However, instead of taking a strategic and holistic approach, many airports have relied on conventional baggage handling systems which are ineffective. It has also been found that the installation of redundant and unnecessary systems only increases the operational cost of the airports. Thus, the quick fix, as such, is not an effective solution. Before installing any technology in the system, a thoughtful assessment of the overall airport technological ecosystem facilitating the baggage delivery is required.

The process of baggage movement at the airport involves communication, ground handling, security checks, and placing the bags on the conveyor belt. After the plane lands, real-time flight information is transferred to the flight management system. The assessment of the time required to deliver the baggage is done by the managers by using the real-time data that they have gathered. Information about flights is sent to the flight information department, and the baggage control department is assigned with the responsibility for handling the baggage safely. By receiving and interpreting accurate information about the number of passengers, point of departure, plane type, and the number of luggage pieces, the process becomes a lot easier and efficient.

Communication is an integral part of the airport system. The inability to be aware of flight changes and other disruptions can keep the ground handling staff uninformed about challenges that might arise due to air traffic pressure. Incomplete and inaccurate information can be a hindrance to the efficient utilization of staff/resources, and passengers might become annoyed after having to spend disproportionately large amounts of time waiting for their baggage.

The imbalances in the assignment of the operational activities to the ground handling firms is another major issue. Preparations should be made in advance by making the ground handling personnel available and ready for dealing with any potential challenges; therefore, the estimation of the number of staff is crucial to achieving effective human resource management.

Finally, technological considerations like the length/number of carousels and the speed of the conveyor/vehicles can make the matter worse. The baggage control department can find itself unable to keep up with the pace of disembarking passengers.

The traditional model of airports has loopholes in terms of communication, predictability, ground handling and decision-making which has made it difficult to solve this problem. However, by taking an innovative, strategic, and holistic approach like using a real-time dashboard, predicting events and optimizing resource utilization, it is less likely that passengers will get frustrated about their luggage being delayed. This is a complex process that requires simple and innovative solutions tailored to specific airports to enrich the passenger experience.

Realtime dashboards like EMMA can optimize resource allocation for smoother operation of airports. EMMA’s web dashboard provides an overview of airport operation from flights to ground movements, weather, passengers and baggage handling. This overview integrates multiple systems into one snapshot and makes it easier for airports to anticipate possible problems that may cause baggage handling delays. To find out how EMMA helps reduce unwanted operational costs while optimizing the usage of resources available at the airport facility, you can contact us on