People have been turning to trackers like AirTags and Tiles quite a lot since travel became a thing again, tucking them into suitcases to avoid losing goods somewhere along the check-in to baggage carousel process. But Air New Zealand has put a big brain idea out to the world – one that sees the airline provide you with a real-time update of where your bags are.
Air New Zealand is expanding a pilot program that allows passengers to use the Air NZ app to track their bags.
The airline first trialled the feature back in April, but it’s now open to 25 per cent of its app users (which is an interesting way to frame the metric) that are travelling domestically in NZ. But it will also be open to 5 per cent of app users travelling on an international short-haul flight, including trips to Australia.
The feature allows customers to view the last recorded status of their bag/s in the Air NZ app, which starts after completing bag drop. Once that’s done, Check status will appear on the baggage card on the flight details screen in the app.
“Customers can track the journey of their bag and receive guidance on what to do if their bag has taken a detour,” Air New Zealand chief digital officer Nikhil Ravishankar said, adding that in an upcoming app release, customers will also be able to report and monitor mishandled baggage.
“Piloting the features gives us the opportunity to trial and test among a small group of passengers to troubleshoot any challenges, which will allow a more seamless rollout to all app users towards the middle of this year.”
So pencil in June-July for a customer-wide rollout of the tracking feature.
To make the innovation happen, Air New Zealand worked with the country’s Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI) Biosecurity Team to create the new digital tool.
It’s a very welcome idea, but not one that’s isolated to Air New Zealand. On my way to and from the U.S. in January for CES, I had an AirTag in my suitcase, but I also had an in-app back-tracking feature made available through the United Airlines app, as well as a text from the carrier letting me know it was uploaded to my itinerary. The other two big U.S. carriers – Delta and American Airlines – also offer the service. It seems Korean Air also offers a similar service to customers flying out of Incheon International Airport.
While I can’t talk to the Air New Zealand feature, it was a godsend having United update that my bag was, in fact, about to be thrown onto the carousel at Sydney Airport. Hopefully, we see more airlines jumping on the trend.
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