Qantas launches app-based baggage tracking

The latest version of the Qantas App now lets you track your checked luggage on over 60 domestic flights.

By David Flynn, December 5 2023
Qantas launches app-based baggage tracking

With the peak summer holiday travel season now upon us, Qantas is today rolling out baggage tracking through the Qantas App.

Travellers on some 60 direct routes between ten major domestic cities will receive on-screen notifications on their smartphone

  • after their luggage has been dropped off at check-in
  • when the bag is ‘in transit’, having been scanned in the baggage loading area ahead of being transferred to your aircraft
  • and upon arrival, when bags have been delivered to the carousel

Bag tracking is one of the fresh features baked into the newly-revamped Qantas App, so you’ll need to have the latest version of the Qantas App for Android and Apple smartphones.

The Qantas App now helps track your checked luggage across more than 60 domestic routes.
The Qantas App now helps track your checked luggage across more than 60 domestic routes.

At the time of writing, Qantas’ app-based baggage tracking covers ‘single sector’ flights between these ten domestic destinations:

  • Adelaide
  • Alice Springs
  • Brisbane
  • Cairns
  • Canberra
  • Darwin
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Townsville

Qantas plans for other domestic as well as international flights to follow across 2024, along with connecting multi-sector flights (that said, beginning this week bag tracking will be available on the domestic leg of an international flight, such as QF9 from Melbourne to Perth).

If you’re on one of these flights, you’ll find the Track my bags option in the Qantas App’s Trips section; there’s also an icon at the bottom of the baggage tracking screen to report missing baggage.

The Qantas App now helps track your checked luggage.
The Qantas App now helps track your checked luggage.

Note that none of this offers the same type of real-time tracking as gizmos like Apple AirTags – instead, the process relies on each bag being physically scanned at the airport – and the ‘in transit’ stage doesn’t actually indicate the bag has been loaded onto your flight.

Qantas’ rollout of app-based bag tracking follows a similar initiative launched in September by Virgin Australia, following a successful trial of its own platform in May.

Ironically, Qantas was initially well ahead of the high-tech baggage tracking curve with the 2010 launch of its RFID-enabled Q Bag Tags as part of the streamlined domestic Next Generation Check-in initiative.

Qantas launched its smart Q Bag Tag 'coasters' in 2010.
Qantas launched its smart Q Bag Tag 'coasters' in 2010.

Each of the Q Bag Tags – coloured coded to a frequent flyer’s status – contains an RFID chip which synchronises the traveller’s flight details with their baggage, and then lets the bag be tracked by Qantas using RFID scanners and a ‘baggage reconciliation system’.

However, there’s currently no way for the traveller to access that system and receive assurance that their bags have been loaded onto the plane or are headed for the luggage belt.

And we suggest no airline bag-tracking app will replace the utility value of trackers such as the Apple AirTag, which deliver (mostly) accurate geo-positioning of a bag with live ‘real-time’ tracking and have become an increasingly common part of the modern traveller’s arsenal.

Also read: How to add your Qantas Frequent Flyer card to Apple Wallet, Google Wallet

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

15 Aug 2017

Total posts 119

If you don’t know it hasn’t made it onto the same flight you are on and you just need to wait until it’s scanned at the carousel on arrival is there any benefit to this? Am I missing something ?

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 418

You're not missing anything, this all relies on trust.

The same thing though applies to all other airline baggage tracking apps, they don't scan your bags as they are actually loaded onto the plane, and in fact if bags were in containers there's no way they could scan them as the containers were loaded, so the bags have to be scanned at the baggage processing area before they are dispatched and loaded onto the plane.

That's why Apple AirTags are your best friend, at least if you have an iPhone. You'll have a much better chance of knowing where your bags actually are, either that they are on the plane with you or that they have somehow remained at the airport or ended up in another city or country.

Airline bag tracking apps are nice for the average person but I think frequent flyers and tech savvy people want something a bit more reliable.

07 Dec 2023

Total posts 2

That is not a true statement about airlines baggage tracking.....Delta Airlines has full baggage tracking with real time scanning by baggage handlers.  IE showing"we've got you luggage" to "loaded on flight number ***" to " off loading flight ***" and "arrived in ***" all in real time as it is being individually scanned. 

That means soon all other American based airlines will offer this full service....it should only be a matter of time before Qantas, Virgin and others offer this as well.  

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

11 Dec 2016

Total posts 74

It only took Virgin to do something basic to force Qantas to catch up and do copy it.

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 418

To be fair, Qantas announced this early in the year but waited until the app was 're-platformed' so they could include this and other new features. But yes, I agree that Qantas responds well to competition!

24 Nov 2020

Total posts 7

Actually not correct. Yes Virgin launched it first but Qantas delayed their roll out until it was to a better specification. Qantas announced this before Virgin. 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

09 Jul 2021

Total posts 2

QFP1 just an observation re your comment " ... they don't scan your bags as they are actually loaded onto the plane, and in fact if bags were in containers there's no way they could scan them as the containers were loaded, so the bags have to be scanned at the baggage processing area before they are dispatched and loaded onto the plane".

Delta Air Lines scan bags at 15 points in the end-to-end baggage journey including when bags are loaded into the aircraft (and push notifications are sent to PAX advising them of "bags on board").  All bags loaded into cans/ULD's for wide-body aircraft are also scanned.

You beat me to it, I was just about to post the same thing. Interesting that Delta does this with RFID chips embedded in the luggage tag, instead of barcode scanning, maybe this is the path Qantas should have gone down?

There's a good Delta blog post on this here: https://news.delta.com/delta-introduces-innovative-baggage-tracking-process

"Spread throughout 84 of Delta’s largest stations, 1,500 belt loaders will give baggage the green light – literally – as it enters and exits the belly of a plane. The belt loader sensor will flash green when the bag is being loaded on the correct aircraft or red when the bag requires additional handling."

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Dec 2020

Total posts 1

After Qantas recently lost my luggage twice in the same week, baggage staff at Qantas told me (off the record) to throw my Q-Bag Tag in the bin. If that's the level of confidence Qantas has in this technology I'm going back to paper bag tags. 

23 Sep 2023

Total posts 3

Was looking at getting Q-Bag Tags but they were not available every time I checked.  After reading this I am no longer checking.

I'll stick with paper and AirTags.

Qantas

11 Nov 2015

Total posts 3

Have had same experience, and same response from QF staff

P1
P1

24 Apr 2017

Total posts 77

Late to the party as usual, with a half baked implementation...

I'll stick with my Samsung Smarttag thanks.


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