American Is Introducing Enhanced Baggage Tracking

While this is something that has been trialed for a while, this week American is officially rolling out customer baggage notifications, also known as CBN. With these new notifications, you’ll be informed through American’s app if your bags won’t be arriving as scheduled, and you’ll be able to use the app to take the next step towards getting a resolution.

American says that customers will receive three types of alerts through CBN:

  • Early Baggage Arrival – This message alerts customers that their bag arrived before them and directs them to pick up their bag at the Baggage Service Office (BSO).
  • Late Baggage Arrival – Go to the Baggage Service Office. This message directs customers, for example those with an international segment in their reservation, to see an agent at the BSO.
  • Late Baggage Arrival – Mobile Baggage Order (MBO). This message advises customers to fill out a Mobile Baggage Order, or MBO, on their mobile device. The automated MBO asks for the customer’s delivery details and a bag description to help expedite reuniting the customer with their items. By using the MBO, customers no longer need to stop at the BSO to file a claim.

So if your bags are delayed you’ll be informed right away…

…and you’ll be given the option to schedule delivery for the bags.

You’ll also be informed if your bags arrived on an earlier flight, and you’ll be able to see exactly what flights they were on, when they arrived, etc.

To receive alerts, customers can use the American Airlines app, sign up for an AAdvantage account, or provide contact information during booking or check-in.

Here’s a video American made about this new feature:

This is a positive development, though it’s very much not an innovation on the part of American. IATA is requiring all airlines to improve their technology when it comes to baggage tracking, which needs to be in place by June 2018. Furthermore, this is something that Delta has been offering for years.

There’s no doubt this will make a material improvement for those with delayed or lost bags, not only in terms of sharing lost or delayed baggage information proactively, but also in terms getting started on the recovery process, rather than having to go to the lost baggage department.

Unfortunately American still has a long way to go when it comes to improving the experience of checked bags. While I don’t check bags often, for the times I have with American, I’ve waited absurdly long periods. Meanwhile Alaska and Delta offer a 20 minute baggage guarantee, which is great. If only American would match that as well…

Comments

  1. Agree this is a good step, but doesn’t go far enough. I’m a regular AA flier and they are simply not efficient in delivering checked bags, especially at their hubs. Waits for bags at LAX – where the terminal layout does not require that bags travel long distances – are routinely 45-60 minutes. DFW is equally bad and ORD is the worst of them all.

    The fact that this campaign focuses so heavily on delayed or lost bags seems more like an admission that they know their process stinks. I’d love to see a guarantee like the one Delta or Alaska has, but AA doesn’t appear to have the foundation to deliver on that.

  2. Delta has a really good tracking system that sends an alert once your bags are loaded on the plane. It adds a piece of mind to know that your bag is on the same plane as you.

  3. I don’t check bags often nor do I fly Delta much these days but going back a few years, Delta never made those 20 minute bag delivery guarantees in Rome or Milan but they did really well in Atlanta and JFK.
    Overall, this is a big improvement for AA.

  4. I think baggage handling times are one of the most overlooked aspects when talking about US Airlines vs foreign carriers. I think the state of baggage handling in the US is atrocious. I took a trip to Asia a couple of weeks ago and baggage handling times there absolutely blew me away. I couldn’t believe how long it took to unload bags when I got to my home airport of GUC. It’s a tiny regional airport with 2 or 3 scheduled flights a day and arriving aircraft are parked within a couple-dozen yards of the single baggage carousel. It took United Express a good 25-30 minutes or so to unload the ERJ-145 and get the carousel moving. I saw Singapore Airlines unload a 777 in NRT and LAX and Asiana unload an A350 at KIX faster than that. My SQ arrival at LAX was even at a remote stand!

  5. This is a good move on AA’s part. I routinely check bags, and AA pretty much has delivered them to my destination without incident. But I must agree their delivery to baggage claim TAKES FOREVER! Even at a small station like Harrisburg, it can often take up to 30-40 minutes for a checked bag to make it to the belt. The few times I’ve flown Delta, my bag has always made it to the belt within 20 minutes and is often on the belt before I get to baggage claim.

    AA has some work to do in this area. They also need to work on making sure priority bags are on the belt before all others.

  6. American is LITERALLY THE WORST AT CHECKED BAGGAGE.

    As James S and Gregg note above, their wait times are utterly unacceptable. They never have bags delivered at DCA in under 30 minutes, and JFK and LAX are even worse. Last year my partner and I flew to LAX and, along with several other first class passengers, waited 40 minutes for the bags to start to come out, only to find that our bags weren’t on the conveyor.

    Went to the baggage counter and handed the claim checks to the woman standing amongst the hundreds of suitcases, who looked around and said “It’s over here!” pointing to our suitcases. I actually told her that it’s customary in civilized parts of the world to say something along the lines of “I’m sorry,” to which she replied “I didn’t KNOW your bag was here until you ASKED me.” Which didn’t really address anything material at all. The one saving grace was another passenger who literally screamed at the woman. I’m not normally for making scenes, but I’ll say that in this case, the person who screamed was screaming for many of us. Actually, thousands. No MILLIONS of us. Can you tell I have feelings on this matter?

    Please never do another post on AA and checked luggage. This got me feeling all PTSD… 🙂

  7. AA lost my bag for 10 days, meaning I didn’t have it for a three week cruise. Once they found out, they were unable to get it to me, so the bag went home. Most of the people I spoke with in their baggage office were well meaning, but clueless. Did you know there are no one-world partners that fly to India, according to one rep? Bag was lost flying F, with 5 Star Services, from LAX to IAH direct. They ended up paying a pretty penny for my replacement clothes! At LAX, the bag wait time is atrocious. I’ve waited 45 minutes for my bag, where my flight to LAX from Vegas was only 35 mins…

  8. Oh America, they do airports well I think. We lived there for 3 years and found it that much easier to check in and transit. Looking forward to having this baggage tracking arrive here in Oz. Won’t hold my breath as we don’t have Curbside Check-in yet! Must try on next visit to the US of A.

    Thanks for sharing xo

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