Here's the magazine article again:
It’s all on the tag!
How many times have you heard stories of airlines losing luggage?
But have you ever wondered how the thousands of bags that are processed daily actually get to the right
destination? Isabel Chong reports.
It’s 7a.m at Heathrow Airport and I’m working with Kiyose,
a check-in clerk for one of the major airlines. I’m still rubbing the sleep from my eyes but Kiyose
is bright and cheerful. There’s already a long line of sleepy passengers waiting to check in for the
Auckland flight. John Arahanga, a New Zealander living in London, is Kiyose’s first customer for the
day. ‘You will be careful with that,’ says Mr Arahanga. ‘The last time I flew home my bag went missing
Mr Arahanga and the millions of other passengers who fly every
year, will be pleased to know that improvements in baggage handling mean that bags don’t get lost as
often. But if they do go to the wrong destination, they are easier to find. So how do they do that?
‘When you take your luggage to check-in, the clerk enters it
into the airport’s database,’ says Kiyose, as he types in Mr Arahanga’s baggage details. I watch as
the computer prints out a baggage tag and a passenger baggage receipt, both with the same barcode. ’The
barcode contains information about who owns the bag, where it’s going and on which airline. So, even
if Mr Arahanga misses his connecting flight, all we have to do is type in the new destination.’
Kiyose attaches the baggage tag to the luggage and sticks the
baggage receipt on John’s ticket. ‘Your bag has been checked through to New Zealand, Mr Arahanga. Enjoy
your flight,’ says Kiyose. ‘And if it doesn’t arrive?’ asks John anxiously. ‘Don’t worry, sir. Just
go to the '‘Lost Luggage’’ counter at Auckland airport and show them the baggage receipt,’ says Kiyose,
pointing to the barcode on the back of John’s ticket. ‘They’ll be able to tell you where your bag is
and when it will arrive.’
*Zahra, Kiyose’s manager, takes me behind the scenes to see
how the baggage handling system works. ‘As the bag travels along the conveyor belt, laser beams scan
the barcode on the baggage tag,’ she says. ‘This gives the computer the information it needs so it can
send the bag to the proper chute, and then into the baggage cart below.’
The following day, I ask Zahra about John Arahanga’s bag. ‘Unfortunately,
he missed his connecting flight from Auckland to Wellington. But we just entered his new flight details
into the computer and his bag arrived safely at Wellington airport at the same time as he did.’ Another
Here is a summary of the article on baggage handling
the correct word to each gap.