You Can Now Follow Your Bag on Delta in Real Time, Like FedEx

Baggage, Delta

We’ve been asking for this for a long time now, but the wait (at least for Delta passengers) is finally over. You can now follow your checked bag on Delta just like you follow a package on FedEx. And that’s only a part of what the airline is doing to make things move more smoothly. This is good stuff.

I was excited about this, so I went to the Twitterverse to find people who had checked a bag on Delta so I could see some real-time results. I couldn’t have asked for a better marriage of technology than what resulted. I received a response from a Twitter follower who was using internet on his Delta flight and was worried since he had checked his bag for the first time in two years. He had the bag tag number, and I sent him the link to the bag tracking page at Delta.com. The results showed this:

Delta Bag Tracking

So here he was, sitting a few miles above the Southwest US in this airplane, and he was able to check and see that his bag had been scanned planeside as it was boarded on to his aircraft. Friggin’ beautiful, isn’t it?

But what happens if the bag gets lost? I had another Twitter follower respond that his bag had been missing for days. Here’s what Delta showed:

Delta Lost Bag

That’s not pretty. It looks like his bag was scanned on the airplane, but then it was sent back to the sort area and now it’s disappeared. If it’s found, it will be scanned and that will show up here. He’ll also be able to see when it gets on another flight to his destination. Let’s all just hope that they find it one of these days.

That’s not all Delta is doing here. The airline is taking this one step further as well. I’m told that you can sign up for alerts to be sent directly to you in regards to bag status. I haven’t found where to sign up for this or how it works, but it’s on its way. I’m sure we’ll hear more soon.

[Got an update from Delta on 4/21 @ 930a: SkyMiles members can login to delta.com and then select ‘profile’ from the menu options. From there, they can select ‘Contact Me’ and subscribe to our ‘Last-minute Updates’ feature which provides our Medallion customers with alerts on their upgrade status and now has the ability to alert any SkyMiles member about the status of their checked baggage.]

In addition, Delta has brought the claim form into the 21st century. Until recently, once you reported your bag lost, you had to fill out a paper claim form for reimbursement. But now, you can do it online. Finally.

So, Delta is making a lot of strides here in terms of making the baggage process more transparent for customers. Great stuff. We need to see more like this.

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37 comments on “You Can Now Follow Your Bag on Delta in Real Time, Like FedEx

    1. Theoretically, the bags are scanned into the container, and the container (and all the tags that were scanned into it) is scanned onto the aircraft. So, when the container is scanned on, it should update the reports for the tags that are included.

  1. What is this disclaimer about information may not be available on Connection carriers? A good start, but seems like it might be missing the most critical piece – especially for a carrier that uses such a large number of RJ’s, especially larger RJ’s that have replaced mainline. Also seems likely that a higher percentage of bags go astray on connecting flights, which are likely to involve RJ’s, as opposed to point to point on mainline aircraft.

      1. Scanning is happening in all the stations. Read the disclaimer again – it refers to carriers outside of Delta and Delta Connection, ie codeshares on OALs that are not integrated into the Delta scanning system. Personal disclaimer – I am a DL employee.

  2. CF,

    Can’t believe the airlines are finally getting around to doing this. Back in ’01, when I was working for UAX, we were already scanning bags. I’m surprised it took this long to get a website to display the info. However, one thing that was a hold-up for us was that our baggage scanning guns didn’t transmit in real time — we had to “download” the data periodically. But still…

    One of the drawbacks to the baggage system is that it’s set up to move mass bags — it’s hard to find single bags. For example, our baggage facility was basically a large garage. Fine for normal ops, but for IRROPS, when mass flights were canceled, hundreds of bags could stack up quite quickly. Even if the scan gun would say “BSO” we simply didn’t have the manpower to sort through 500 hundred bags looking for a particular one *right now.*

  3. Is there something that would show when DL gave the bag to another airline or receives it from another airline like on a connecting flight? That would sure help DL when bags go lost and they could say for a fact that they gave it to the connecting airline and they lost it, or that DL never got it from the other airline so DL doesn’t have to pay for anything.

  4. Just got an update from Delta on how to sign up for updates. It’s in the body of the post now. You have to be a SkyMiles member, so you go into your profile and sign up.

    1. So DL is saying if you are a SkyMiles member they will do their best to track and deliver your bags but if you are not, then the hell with you. Golly gee I wonder who’s bags will not get on a flight if there’s a time crunch or irregular operational issue, the SkyMiles member who can track the bags or a non-SkyMiles who can’t.

      1. Well its the SkyMiles member who gets the automatic updates.. Its probably more a matter of its easier to work through setting up the web UI etc for SkyMiles members than just every one off ticket..

          1. Bags aren’t treated any differently (except for those with SkyPriority, not general members), but you have to have a SkyMiles account to track the bags. I do find that annoying as well, but it’s a lot easier to set it up that way, I’d imagine. So hopefully at some point, they’ll be willing to expand it.

  5. I can testify that the system is not perfect, yet !

    My bag missed the connection to Boston in Amsterdam last week, and, although it was rerouted to Boston via Detroit while i was flying, it never showed on the website that it was flying to me nor was Delta staff in Boston able to give me that information (and it is very frustrating after an international flight to wait for your bag while they could have told you right when you landed not to bother, that your bag would be delayed !!!).

    1. Apparently KLM is not yet connected to the system. I do think it is possible to wire the Schiphol bag handling system into Delta’s tracking; but it will cost some time and money.

    2. That is frustrating. If airlines are going to provide this information, that means accuracy becomes a lot more important. I would assume they feel confident that they can provide more accurate info going forward, but we’ll see how things progress.

    1. American hasn’t lost any of our bags in 50+ trips, coach and first class. Delta has lost mine twice in just 4 trips, despite my having 1st class (Sky Priority) tickets each time! At least they did a good job in delivering my bag to my hotel before we left for a cruise.

  6. It’s a cool technology — some kinks to be worked out, but DL deserves a lot of credit here. Although I hardly ever check a bag, when I have, I’ve appreciated the self-service kiosks that United has rolled out in key hubs. They allow you to type in your claim # or MileagePlus # and see if your bag is going to make it to the claim. You can also file your report on the machine itself should your bag be missing. I did this last time they misplaced my bag, and it worked fine. Obviously, DL’s system is a step above these kiosks — may others follow!

  7. To be honest, if it is going to be lost, it will lost… Like my case, the last status of the luggage shown that “bag expedited on DL 789 DTW-LAX on Jan 05”. So what is the problem? DL 789 never took off on 5th… they delay it like 3 times from 5:30PM all the way till 4:00AM and finally cancelled it… And within my bag I made handicraft lap desks made by bf’s father… This really sucks and what updates me is: I don’t think Delta gives a crab about missing baggage, neither cancelling flights. You will not even able to call their lost and found center in the airport!

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