Delta and Alaska Airlines commit to delivering checked bags within 20 minutes of each flight arriving. United and American make no such commitment. An American employee asked about what the airline can do to improve its baggage delivery times, and management provided a response in writing outlining some of the challenges that they have with bags – and how it’s supposed to work.
There are several things we can do to ensure bags make it ot the right place quickly after a flight has landed. It all starts with ensuring that when the aircraft is loaded at its origin the baggage is properly separated. Starting with loading the local bags (going to baggage claim), then the transfer bags (bags connecting to other flights), then priority bags (checked by our most valuable customers and storing with the local bags). The transfer bags have to be separated once more into online bags (mainline) and American Eagle bags (regional). There are typically different drivers, moving each of those and unloading them together will help those drivers start the process faster.
If all of this is done at the originthen the baggage is more quickly sorted once it arrives at its destination. Team members should be ready upon arrival by being in position before the aircraft arrives, with equipment stages and ready to go. We have technology available that lets us know when the last bag has been scanned to go to baggage claim, team members should immediately go to baggage claim with the bags and not wait until the entire plane is unloaded “just to make sure.” Priority bags should be arranged to unload first, as this is our commitment to our most valuable customers.
We do have a scorecard that shows our 20-minute baggage delivery complaince. However there is a plan to create a variable target for each flight that will be shown to the crew chief or team lead before they begin offloading.
And here’s why you frequently don’t get your checked bags during irregular operations when you change from one flight to another. If you don’t have a seat assignment for your new flight, assume your bag will not make it.
Deviate (DV8) is the application used to reroute baggage and it identifies when an itinerary with a bag has changed. If a customer is rebooked from one flght to another and checked in for the new flight with a seat assignment, it triggers a change in the program. When that bag is then scanned by the DV8 program (on mobile or desktop) an overlay is printed on a connected Bluetooth printer. Unfortunately the customer must be checked in with the seat assignment for that change to occur in Sabre. So if a customer elects to stand by on another flight or does not receive a seat assignment until shortly before the plane departs which happens frequently during IROPS there isn’t enough time to then locate the bag and get it onto the right aircraft. The DV8 team is working with Passenger Service Support on ways to make improvements where we could provide that information earlier to our ramp team members.