When it comes to environmental protection, many eyes are on the airline industry’s carbon footprint, especially with the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization releasing new rules last March. Some airlines choose to purchase carbon offsets (credits that go towards other global projects which help reduce emissions elsewhere in the world), while other airlines opt to reduce their own actual emissions. Many do both.

Reducing air pollution by an industry that literally operates up in it is a challenge. It requires using less fuel, reducing weight and limiting number of flights. Unfortunately, this has created a multifaced challenge whose solutions sometimes inconvenience the people you’re trying to please most: customers. That’s where BagsID can help. Surprised? Read on.

The business of flight is about weight. The payload of an aircraft is calculated by the following parameters: passengers, baggage and cargo. Sure, fuel is also taken into consideration and, depending on the airline, the season. Baggage is individually weighed at some airlines, but methodologies vary. Carry-on baggage weight is generally estimated per passenger with some airlines using modified seasonal averages to accommodate for heavier winter-weight clothing in applicable climates.

In recent years, airlines started to look more deeply at variation in passenger weight, some even weighing customers individually as did Finnair in 2017 and Transavia in 2019.  Samoa Air controversially became the first airline to charge passengers by the kilo rather than per person.

According to the 2019 Ancillary Revenue Yearbook report by CarTrawler, global baggage fee revenue jumps to €25.2 billion, which makes this metric the heavyweight champion of airline income. Because of this, the rules of baggage allowance are ever changing and increasing in complexity, with many airlines shifting restrictions involving characterization and weight limitations. What counts as hand luggage? What qualifies as checked baggage? How many pieces of each are travelers allowed to take? None of the answers to these are standardized across airlines, leaving customers frantic and frustrated when confronted with unexpected, awkward and expensive baggage situations at the airport.

With all this in mind, packing lighter has become a way to avoid costs for the traveler, reducing revenue for the airline. And none of this is captured as a way to reduce carbon footprint. Thanks to BagsID, it’s possible to not only be green but save (and make more of) it too.

Visual AI can be a cost saving and revenue generating factor when it comes to baggage dimensions and optimizing available space. A visual pre-screening of baggage, which gathers size and dimension data, opens up a wide range of opportunities related to sorting, loading and forecasting efficient use of space, number of flights and fuel consumption. But what about weight and balance?

The BagsID team ran a repetitive test loading an Airbus A350-900. The configuration of this aircraft has 36 positions for LD3 containers, of which 11 or 12 are generally for baggage (on a full flight). Our algorithm-based smart sortation system was used to influence the loading sequence of bags per container. The results were astounding –  using two less LD3 containers for baggage that could now be utilized for freight (equaling additional operational revenue of $2,000 per container). This is an interesting business case, proving that sortation can and needs to become more intelligent. The impact on the environment is obvious: ultimately less flights needed to move more cargo. The impact to the bottom line is quite pleasing, too.

Flight weight efficiency is not only about packing light. Through something as simple as a picture, valuable dimensional data can be extracted. This can help pack planes smarter, make flights and cargo transport more efficient, and ultimately reduce CO2 emissions. Let’s save the planet and our industry together, contact us for more information about our innovative baggage identification solution.