At American Airlines, management’s edict is not to spend a dollar more than they need to. So it’s not surprising CEO Robert Isom and Chief Operating Officer David Seymour told employees in an internal meeting last week that they’re not prepared to invest in RFID technology or new electronic bag tags to improve the checked baggage process.
However the airline, which generally mishandles more bags than competitors, is making process improvements so that bags are more likely to make connections – especially at their Dallas – Fort Worth hub.
David Seymour explained during the carrier’s “State of the Airline” employee forum after its earnings call on Thursday (a recording of which was reviewed by View From The Wing) that “with respect to mishandled bags, it’s been a key objective for us to try and get better. It’s not one that we’re known for but we’re making headway there.”
He laid out two initiatives that they have to improve handling for connecting bags,
- Get connecting bags off of inbound aircraft first. Here’s Seymour,
The big issue with us right now and the mishandled bags really comes back with how we manage connecting bags and how we move them in our hubs…helping the bag situation starts in our spokes where we make sure we load the bags to that DFW and Charlotte and our other hubs have a higher opportunity of success by making sure they’re sorted correctly…we’re now getting nearly 90% completion of making sure we’re getting those connecting bags in the first bin that gets offloaded in our hubs..
- Get bags from one aircraft to the next more quickly. He offers, “we’re also doing a lot with the bag runners themselves to make sure we have better routes for them” so they can get around the airport more efficiently
These effort should help move bags quickly, so that they’re more likely to make it on tight connections. But it doesn’t help speed up the check-in process, track bags so they aren’t lost, or deliver them to baggage claim faster.