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Airline to RFID-Track All Checked Bags

Nice to see a little of that crazy airline profit money poured back into something that benefits passengers: Delta has announced that by the end of the year, its new RFID luggage tagging system will go live. The project cost the airline more than $50 million.

Soon, instead of a scannable bar code, luggage tags will contain a microchip with radio-frequency identification (RFID) capability. Using sensors positioned around the airports where it operates, Delta will be able to pinpoint the location of your bag down to a few feet, even determining whether it has made it onto your aircraft.

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Passengers will be able to receive confirmation that their bags have made it onto their plane.

It turns out that Delta has had the ability to track your luggage like this for well over a decade, but decided it would rather lose your bags than pay to upgrade its system. A Delta spokesman told Gizmodo that it has actually possessed the technology to do this ever since it began testing it in 2003, but only decided to put this in place now because its old baggage system needed replacement, so they might as well do it.

Delta is the first U.S. carrier to use an RFID bag-tracking system on a wide scale. Other airlines have dabbled in it or offered it as an upgrade, but Delta will make this feature standard with the 120 million checked bags it handles annually.

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