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Delta says RFID technology will help track bags

Posted at 4:55 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 16:59:30-04

Delta Airlines is trying to prevent lost luggage by using technology to track bags from start to finish.

Radio frequency identification, or RFID, will replace the bar code scanning done by hand, which has been the airline standard for decades.

RFID technology is widely used in other areas of our daily life, though you may not recognize it.

On the campus of Metropolitan State University of Denver, the Auraria Library uses RFID to check books in and out, and speed up the process.

"I want to check out all these books," said Ryan Turch, Information Technology Desktop Support Technician. "All I have to do is come to this kiosk, put in my student ID number."

The kiosk simultaneously scans the RFID chips in the back of each book, saving students and librarians valuable time.

Bike-sharing program, Denver B-cycle, also uses RFID to track its inventory. Each bike and each bike rack has individual RFID chips that link users' credit cards to their specific rentals.

"We do about 365,000 rides a year," said Nick Bohnenkamp, Executive Director of Denver B-Cycle. "From a RFID perspective, we have pretty infrequent failures, any given day. We might have maybe one every other week, at this point."

When it comes to luggage, Delta says tests showed a 99.9 percent success rate. Customers can use their phone app to follow the progress, long before baggage claim.

Delta airlines spent $50 million to install RFID technology at airports around the world, including 4,600 scanners and 3,800 bag tag printers.

Delta employees handle 120 million bags each year.