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02 July 2018 | Blog

IATA Resolution 753: Automating the baggage process to reduce mishandling and drive customer service

What is IATA Resolution 753?

IATA Resolution 753 encourages airlines to implement tracking solutions to cover every single baggage journey, helping to ensure a more comprehensive tracking system across the industry and reduce the number of mishandling incidents.

By keeping track of bags at every stage of the journey the number of lost or delayed pieces should be reduced.

This will result in a greater level of customer service, with passengers benefiting from the reassurance that they know exactly where their valuables are while they are travelling.

Transparency will be embedded as a customer expectation; passengers will soon become accustomed to their baggage being tracked throughout its journey and the advantages of this should it be mishandled at any point.

Not only is the automation of the baggage process good news for customers, it will also aid ground handling staff. They will be able to prepare aircraft for departure faster, improving turnaround times and operational efficiency.

Under the terms of the resolution, airlines must track baggage at four important points during a journey:

  • When baggage is handed over by a passenger to an airline
  • Upon loading to the aircraft
  • At delivery to the transfer area
  • When it is returned to the passenger at their destination

Under the resolution, all IATA and A4A member airlines have a duty to track baggage effectively.

IATA Resolution 753 was requested by airline members and approved by the Joint Passenger Services Conference in 2013. It came into effect on 1st June 2018.

Why was IATA Resolution 753 needed?

According to the SITA Baggage Report 2018, 5.57 bags per 1,000 passengers were mishandled in 2017. This was 2.73% lower than in 2016. The implementation of IATA Resolution 753 could help to drive the mishandling rate even lower and improve baggage operations across the industry.

In addition, IATA Resolution 753 will facilitate an improvement in customer service. Some 64% of travellers told SITA’s Passenger IT Trends Survey they wanted to track their bag in real-time, while 62% said they would like a notification that alerts them when their bag is ready to collect.

It is therefore no surprise that many airlines are moving the focus of their mobile notification services to baggage. By 2019, the majority of airlines intend to offer missing bag notifications, real-time bag status information and bag location updates to passengers.

IATA’s 2017 Global Passenger Survey found passengers are increasingly demanding when it comes to the service they receive from carriers, with the features most people want to see including the automation of more airport processes and real-time information sent directly to mobile devices.

Automating the baggage process will make it easier to capture and share baggage data, helping airlines to meet the needs of their customers.

What are the benefits of IATA Resolution 753?

The aim of IATA Resolution 753 is to improve the performance of airlines when it comes to baggage operations while providing passengers with increased confidence and peace of mind. The benefits of adhering to the resolution include:

  • Reducing the amount of mishandled baggage
  • Automating the entire baggage journey to achieve maximum efficiency and accuracy
  • Delivering maximum transparency to the customer
  • Providing ground staff with more data to track mishandled baggage and facilitate a speedy reunion
  • Improving operations for ground handling staff
  • Offering customers reassurance about the location of their valuables
  • Reducing the cost of tracing, retrieving and delivering mishandled baggage
  • Readying aircraft for departure in a shorter time
  • Enabling proactive reporting
  • Reducing fraud

What does this mean for airlines and airports?

Airports must monitor and log the movement of bags through aircraft loading, transfers and arrivals, while airlines must also track them at check-in/bag drop desks. Many have already deployed the technology required to facilitate this process and ensure an unbroken chain of custody.

Airlines must also be able to provide an inventory of all baggage on each departing flight and be ready to exchange this data with other airlines when passengers are transferring between carriers.

Preparing and amending operations to cater to increasing passenger numbers should be a consideration for all carriers. As the number of people flying rises, so too do customer expectations – particularly when it comes to transparent and reliable baggage tracking.

Implementing the systems required to effectively track baggage is understandably a priority, but it can also be a golden opportunity to introduce new efficient operations across the board.

For example, Swiss International Air Lines has introduced a range of measures at its Zurich and Geneva hubs to deal with growing passenger numbers, an inability to secure extra facilities and a desire to offer high-quality customer service. These include Home-Printed Bag Tags, which allow customers to label their baggage before arriving at the airport, significantly reducing queuing times at bag drop desks as a result.

At a time when profit margins are tighter than ever, airlines must embrace changes that deliver both excellent customer service and enhanced efficiency.

How can airlines use IATA Resolution 753 to improve service?

Passengers want to take control of more airport processes through the latest digital self-service options and at the top of the list is baggage. According to IATA, 68% of people want to self-tag their bags while 48% would like to self-drop.

Airlines should take the opportunity IATA Resolution 753 has provided them to automate baggage tracking to also consider automating other parts of the baggage journey; not only giving customers what they want through more independence and a smoother passage through the airport but also benefiting themselves from greater efficiency and an improved customer experience.

IATA Resolution 753 itself will ensure airlines have more control of baggage and its location, helping to reassure the customer and, in the event of mishandling, being able to quickly and effectively reunite baggage with its owner. The vast quantity of data held by airlines now in comparison with prior to the resolution can be used as the basis of any developments of new real-time notifications.

To find out more about how your company can benefit through compliance with IATA Resolution 753, get in touch