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Bags going missing

Old 20th Jun 2012, 14:59
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Solihull
Age: 34
Posts: 124
Bags going missing

Hello folks, a query.

For the first time on Monday in 20 odd years of travelling, we arrived at Heathrow without a full compliment of bags. Fair play to United though, they had already popped it on another flight and it arrived at our day barely 20 hours later.

But it leads me to some questions, could anyone with bagging handling knowledge maybe help out.

But first some details. Flight was Phoenix to Heathrow via LAX. I'm not sure where it went awol but assume its during the connection.

1) I noticed on the way out to Phx that the luggage labels were scanned by the chap who puts them on the conveyor up to the hold. Presumably this says 'oui' or 'non' and it gets put on/taken off accordingly?

2) if it doesn't belong on that flight, is it sent immediately to the one it is meant to be on?

3) I assume that that gun knows exactly how many bags are meant to be loaded and will tell someone when there are any missing? If so, how long do they hunt around for. Seconds, minutes, until they find it, or until the pilots want to leave?

4) the guy that dropped it off suggested that the transfer was the likely culprit. What happens there then? Do they offload the baggage that's going somewhere else onto seperate trolleys which then take them all direct to the new aircraft, or do they go back into the system. We had 4 cases, 2 of them went through check in together so id imagine they were fairly close to each other for the first flight, so its odd that one would get itself lost when the other arrived in perfect order.

Gracias,
Steve
LessThanSte is offline  
Old 20th Jun 2012, 15:21
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: England
Posts: 991
It's quite variable depending on the computer / baggage systems the airport have, but for my station at least:

1) I noticed on the way out to Phx that the luggage labels were scanned by the chap who puts them on the conveyor up to the hold. Presumably this says 'oui' or 'non' and it gets put on/taken off accordingly?
Sounds like a computerised system to tell the dispatcher which bags have been loaded on the aircraft, so if the pax doesn't travel they know where their bags are (and if they need offloading). For transfer baggage, it may not say 'oui' until the passenger has boarded.

2) if it doesn't belong on that flight, is it sent immediately to the one it is meant to be on?
It should be sent back to the bag hall, who will then send it back out to the flight. Depending on the size of the airport (and efficiency of the ground handling company), how quickly this actually happens is anybodies guess.

3) I assume that that gun knows exactly how many bags are meant to be loaded and will tell someone when there are any missing? If so, how long do they hunt around for. Seconds, minutes, until they find it, or until the pilots want to leave?
In reality, no body will probably 'search around' for your bag. Where I work, if you are a 'bag down' in the BRS (baggage reconciliation system), then so be it. It either turns up or continues to be 'missing'. Generally, flights will never be delayed for baggage, unless you're missing something like 30+.

4) the guy that dropped it off suggested that the transfer was the likely culprit. What happens there then? Do they offload the baggage that's going somewhere else onto seperate trolleys which then take them all direct to the new aircraft, or do they go back into the system. We had 4 cases, 2 of them went through check in together so id imagine they were fairly close to each other for the first flight, so its odd that one would get itself lost when the other arrived in perfect order.
Depends on the type of aircraft, airport etc but if its a containerised aircraft they'll most likely be a transfer can/cans which will be offloaded onto the belts and then the computer will do the sorting, and send them down the appropriate chutes to be brought out to the aircraft. If you've got a short transfer time between flights, the process of offloading the bags, sorting them and re-loading them can cause bags to miss their connections.
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