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The Summer of Lost Luggage

by Steven Stein 15 Aug 2023 0 Comments

In 2022, travellers across the globe found themselves caught in what's now dubbed "the summer of lost luggage." Imagine a staggering 26 million pieces of luggage gone astray – delayed, lost, or damaged. It was a year when the mishandling rate practically doubled, casting a shadow over an aviation industry already struggling to regain its footing. It's a summer that won't soon be forgotten.

The Problem at Hand

Understanding the Increase in Mishandled Luggage:

  • Flight Transfers: International flights, especially those involving transfers, played a significant role, contributing to 42% of the luggage that ended up mishandled.
  • Labour Shortages: The drop in experienced staff created operational challenges that led to more mishandled bags.
  • Airport Size: Larger airports, often serving as transfer hubs, were severely affected. The issues created a trickle-down effect that reached and influenced even the smaller airports.

Region-Specific Mishandling Rates

Different regions showed their own unique mishandling rates:

  • Europe: 15.7 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers
  • North America: 6.35
  • Asia-Pacific: 3.04

These eye-opening statistics really drive home the urgent need for some fresh, innovative solutions.

The SMART Tag Solution

The Advent of Digital Tags

SMART tags represent a leap in technology addressing the issue of mishandled luggage. Using NFC chips & QR codes, they offer real, practical solutions.

How Digital Tags Can Help

  • Mitigating Human Error: By simplifying the tracking and tracing system, it cuts down on chances for mistakes. Less error, more peace of mind.
  • Streamlining Transfers: Makes those sometimes-hectic transfers a bit smoother, especially on international flights.
  • Facilitating Baggage Recovery: With products like Retreev's SMART tags, all recovery information is shared within the airline ecosystem. It’s not just about tracking and tracing but quickly contacting owners and getting those bags back safely. Integration with WorldTracer further aligns the solution with the airline and airport industry's specific needs. It's a full-circle solution. 

Products like Retreev's SMART tags are well-rounded, offering features such as privacy protection and robust build quality. However, the main goal lies in how they bring convenience, security, and efficiency right to the traveller's fingertips.

Case Studies & Benefits

Real-World Applications

The application of SMART tags is making waves with some promising results:

  • Misplaced your suitcase at a crowded airport? Quick reunions are now the norm.
  • Stolen backpacks are getting recovered, all thanks to that little tag being recognised. 


SMART tags are poised to redefine how the industry handles baggage, and here's how:

  • Improving Efficiency: Say goodbye to constant worry about lost baggage; precise tracking and tracing has got it covered.
  • Enhancing Customer Satisfaction: Travellers can rest easy, knowing that their belongings are traceable and secure, adding a new layer of peace to their journey.


The "summer of lost luggage" gave us all a wake-up call, emphasising the need for innovation in baggage handling. SMART tags and related technologies aren't just promising; they're on track to fix an issue that's been a thorn in the travel industry's side for years. 

These digital tags are more than just nifty gadgets. They're a tangible sign of a commitment to making travel less of a headache and more of a joy. As the industry picks itself up after a tough stretch, embracing innovations like these could be our ticket to a more reliable, traveller-friendly future.

The journey from lost to found doesn't have to be a complicated affair. With tools like SMART tags leading the way, the travel industry can look forward to a post-pandemic world with more efficiency and empathy. We don't have to relive the summer of 2022; the solution is here, and it's smarter than ever. 

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