Whenever you board a plane and check in your luggage, you’re left with an awful doubt: will my suitcase get lost? That anxious feeling accompanies you as far as the conveyor belt, where you wait impatiently for your belongings to appear. If they don’t appear, you consider your trip a disaster, and you’ll have to go out and buy the things you need using the cash in your pockets, because any airline compensation is often late coming through.
The startup Bagtrax has arrived to bring an end to this problem and to give users some immediate financial compensation in the unfortunate event that their baggage is lost. “The idea comes from my experience in aviation, which I worked in for 25 years. The technology around luggage handling had not improved, so three years ago we began to develop the idea that would lead us to the prototype of the device that we have now,” explains the CEO and founder, Pietro Lanzarini.
Bagtrax offers a service to travellers that uses baggage localisation technology (multi-sensor) during transfers. Their technological device attaches to suitcases so that they can be located at any time. This option is, for example, appealing “for frequent travellers with valuable luggage.” It is also intended for conveyor belts and their loads.
The main challenge is that it is a very strict industry, and air spaces have different regulations – the device has to be adapted to all of these. “At the global level, we abided by the two main security regulatory agencies: the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States and the European Aviation Safety Agency, which others replicate,” explains Lanzarini.
For example, the American agency demands altitude and acceleration sensors, and the European one that the device is in aeroplane mode during the flight. Theirs is the only device on the market that meets both sets of regulations.
In addition, it is the only one that seeks immediate compensation when a suitcase has been lost. To do this, they use a blockchain-based platform that connects all the companies involved in the service: end customer, airlines, airport management and insurance companies.
“Inside the device there is a SIM card, which when turned on connects with our network and its antennas, and performs a triangulation. We had to find an alternative to GPS because this does not work in airports,” says the CEO. Later, the SIM card sends the information to their server “as if it were a WhatsApp”.
With the blockchains, tracking sequences are secured, they can certify each action and guarantee the security of passenger, airline and insurer data. “If the device detects that your luggage is in Madrid and you’ve arrived in Paris, with blockchain we can check that suitcase and owner have been separated and we can provide immediate compensation,” says Lanzarini.
Then begins the usual process to recover the luggage and make a claim to the airline, which will have to reimburse them. That is why “for an insurance company that works through Bagtrax it is a win-win: it advances some money that the airline’s insurer then returns”, explains the CEO. With its smart blockchain contract it also offers compensation if a flight is delayed or cancelled.
They are currently participating in the insur_space acceleration programme by MAPFRE, where they will work to finish developing their device and see how insurers can adopt it. Next time you fly, you might not have to suffer (as much) because of your luggage.
To watch the full interview, click here.