Have you ever wondered what happens to your luggage after you have dropped it off? Well, whilst you are looking around the airport, going through security and getting ready to board the plane, your luggage is on its very own adventure.
At GSE Solutions we have provided the aviation industry with a wide range of ground support equipment for over 25 years. In that time, we have gained a great amount of knowledge about what happens to passenger baggage in the airport and that’s what we are going to explain today.
The whole process starts with your luggage being handed over from customer to staff at a check-in desk, which is where your suitcase or bag starts its journey on the conveyor belt.
At the check-in desks, airline staff enter the bags into the system and attach a luggage tag, which has its own unique barcode. This barcode indicates the destination and route of each bag, making sure that when you get to your location, your bag is there too!
Your bag then enters the Baggage Handling System, which is so clever that if there’s a blockage between suitcases, bags can be re-routed around diversions!
So, how does the conveyor belt know where your bag needs to go? Well, the barcode is read by a barcode scanner and according to the Daily Mirror, is “routed through the network of conveyors to the correct collection chute for processing by baggage handling staff.”
SmarterTravel shared a video showing the incredible course that your luggage takes, comparing it to what would be “the hottest new theme park attraction” if it was designed for humans.
On route to its final destination, your bag passes through x-ray machines. This is to make sure that there is nothing illegal in your bag that you are not allowed to pass between countries. The tag is then scanned again by a baggage handler at the collection chute.
Airport insiders at Manchester Airport say that “Terminal 2’s conveyor is the size of eight football pitches, and there are more than eight miles of baggage belts across the hub.” So, whilst you are enjoying time at the airport, walking along the duty-free stands or simply browsing through magazines, your baggage is travelling eight miles just to get to the same airplane as you!
Once you arrive at your destination, your bags are taken off the plane and put onto a different Baggage Handling System, which eventually delivers all of the luggage to a carousel. This carousel is a large, circular conveyor belt, where all people on that flight surround and wait to see their case. Once everyone has collected all of their cases, they are done and ready to start their own adventure.