The reality behind bag handling

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Hi all,

I’ve been making some analysis on the reality of bag handling in airports as part as the documentation phase creating the plot and mechanics for Crazy Belts. I’m going to get through my findings. All the info is available on Internet, but I’ve put everything together. Hope you will find this post interesting. This in not the typical developer blog post. No single line of code today, but some funny things to share!!!

How many mishandled bags are in the world?

Accordingly to SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, in 2011 25.8 millions of bags where mishandled. If you are interested on this, there is report containing all the details available here.

If you think this is a very big number, keep in mind that things are going better compared to 2010, where 32.3 millions figure was reached. The good news comes from the actual meaning of “mishandled bag” term, as the most of the bags are just delayed:

Kind of mishandled bags (Source: SITA Baggage report 2012)

The main reason is problems related with transfer between aircrafts of the same or different companies. The funny thing is that this reason is being year by year the most prevalent one, at the same time the other reasons are less and less frequent due to operational enhancements in the processes. Conclusion: take bags with you if you are transferring between aircrafts even from the same company.

Reasons behind bags mishandled (Source: SITA baggage report 2012)
Reasons behind bags mishandled (Source: SITA baggage report 2012)

This piece of info has been used for the world counter of mishandled bags that you can find in the Crazy Belts’ launch page.

Does the “mishandled bags heaven” exists? YES! in Scottsboro, Alabama

Roughly ½ of the lost bags don’t arrive with the passengers. Five days later, 95% of those delayed bags find their way home.  That’s a great track record considering the 100’s of millions of flights and passengers that criss-cross USA and the globe every day.

An intense 3-month search process reunites over half of the remaining bags with the happy passengers.  Claims are paid to the astonishingly small fraction of a percent of owners whose bags are never found.

Only after these exhaustive attempts to reunite the luggage with the owners do the airlines call in the crew from Unclaimed Baggage Center. Unclaimed Baggage Center is under contract with airlines and other transportation companies to purchase the luggage that can’t be traced to the owners. Truckloads of lost luggage are transported to Scottsboro, Alabama, sight unseen.

They carefully unpacks each bag and the items go through a complex sorting process. The clothes headed for the store go to a dry cleaner and laundry facility – the largest commercial dry cleaner in the state of Alabama. Fine jewelry is cleaned and appraised. Meanwhile technicians test all electronic equipment, erasing any personal data. The end of the process is pricing each individual item. You can see a nice video about it here. Worth seeing it as you can get an idea of enormous amount of stuff that finally is sold:

If you liked this, you can see more tv press coverage here.

What actually happens when you check-in?

One video worths more than a million of words (assuming an image worths a thousand words):

On Crazy Belts gameplay, your are going to been able to control some of these actual conveyor belts, contraptions and mechanisms used to successfully route baggage to the right destination on time. Other has been just invented, but what is true is that all the bags animation are physically simulated, and you will need to play against gravity, torques, forces just with one finger!

What happens when things do not go very well

I’ve created a playing list in the jemchicomac’s youtube channel showing the best videos I’ve found on the Internet about actual mishandled bags by land crew on different airports around the world, you can see this playing list directly here:

Final recommendation

Anytime you are in airport, waiting for check-in or boarding, or you are bored in-flight, do not thing if your luggage will safety reach the destination together with you. Just take your smartphone, tablet or computer and play Crazy Belts. Probably will not help putting you outside this 3% of bags that do not arrives to your destination, but, well, you will enjoy for a moment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *