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