Reboundtag – RFID Technology Beats the Lost Baggage Blues

Everyone has at least one tale of woe regarding lost luggage. So far, I’ve been fortunate enough not to have lost a suitcase (touch wood), although they’ve often been ominously slow to come off the conveyor, or have mysteriously appeared on the wrong conveyor for whatever flight I’ve been on. With this in mind, it’s surely only a matter of time before my dirty socks wind up (without their owner) in New Delhi or Peru or in one of those unclaimed baggage auctions.

Thinking back, my first-ever holiday with Monsieur was largely interrupted by the hassle of waiting for his suitcase to arrive, which it eventually did following a five-day detour to some Eastern European country that bore no relation in name or location to our destination. We were in the land of spaghetti and mozzarella, yet Monsieur’s luggage was travelling through regions of dumplings and sauerkraut, pierogi and borscht.  On a practical note, with Monsieur’s bag gone, so were his clothes and shaving foam, but thankfully Monsieur is wise to the foibles of baggage handlers and always has insurance in place, so he wasn’t stuck in his travelling clothes with facial fuzz until such time as the wandering luggage joined us. Instead, he went insurance shopping for essentials, but even that wasn’t straightforward because after 4 days without it, he had so little faith in his suitcase ever turning up that he bought a new one. Then, on the way home, the airline stung him massively for having two suitcases, more than the per person allowance, in spite of the fact that it was their fault his bag hadn’t arrived on time in the first place. The whole exercise took a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy to reconcile. Inconvenient doesn’t even begin to describe it.

The irony is that airport baggage security is supposed to be much tighter than this. Theoretically, a bag cannot travel without its owner, yet Monsieur’s bag managed to do so disturbingly easily. To add to this messy mix, it’s not always the fault of the airline that bags go missing.

Following that first trip together, during which Monsieur and I wasted an inordinate amount of time calling the relevant airline/s for updates and ever-changing e.t.a.s, Monsieur’s suitcase continued to go missing, to the point where the lost luggage people at Heathrow recognised Monsieur’s name. Once, it was picked up by accident by someone who thought it was his bag until he got home and started to unpack. Luckily, that meant the bag was in the UK so was delivered the following day. On another occasion, it was left behind at the airport of origin, so arrived a day or two later. On yet another occasion, I was collecting our bags from the conveyor while Monsieur went off to sort out landlubbing transport and had to collar a woman who once more thought that Monsieur’s suitcase was hers. I wouldn’t mind, but his suitcase is distinctive enough not to be mistaken for someone else’s so what is it with these people?

Sadly, we’re not alone in such frustrating moments – many of our friends and colleagues bemoan the loss or misplacement of their luggage on an ongoing basis. In Lost Baggage Blues Therapy, a handful of us can talk easily for hours about misplaced luggage, without changing the topic.

Heads in hands, we groan out loud. Whatever can be done to stop our luggage from going missing when we travel, apart from only packing carry-on? Cue the development of a product that could change all that waiting around for lost bags that may never turn up: Reboundtag.

The folks at Fuelmyblog know that I travel a lot so they sent me this clever little travel accessory to review. It’s simple, really; a bag tag with in-built microchip containing both Reboundtag’s and the owner’s details, including your travel itineraries so that when a missing bag is located it can be immediately forwarded to wherever you are at the time.

I’ve recently activated one of these sturdy plastic tags and it was easy peasy. You just visit the Reboundtag site, register an e-mail address, password and the tag number, then visit the Members’ Area where you store your contact information, describe your luggage along with any identifying features, and upload itinerary information, such as flights and accommodation. You can also take advantage of a rewards system, should you wish to forward Reboundtag’s details to your contacts. So far, so brilliant.

With the amount of travel that we do, I have to say that my mind already rests easier knowing that I have a Reboundtag. Should my luggage ever decide to take a tiki-tour of the world without me, it should find its way back once a baggage handler locates it, realises it’s travelling on its own and logs its whereabouts on the Reboundtag website. Then, wherever I am, I can find out where my bag is (New Mexico/ Indonesia/ Glasgow) and tell the baggage handlers where I want it to be sent and when. (It doesn’t even need to be a baggage handler who does this! One of those accidental conveyor belt kleptos could do it, too.) This is particularly useful if you’re on an extended break because you can arrange to have the wayward luggage forwarded to wherever you are. Then again, if you’re just away for the weekend and concerned about your bag arriving at the hotel when you’ve already left for home, you can tell the handlers/ finder to send it back to your hometown, even requesting delivery to a daytime address so that you don’t have to wait around for the delivery at home when you should be at work. And in case you’re wondering about the safety of your details, you can choose to make them anonymous, so that you’re protected against someone finding out that you’re away and deciding to pop over to ‘borrow’ your DVD player.

In short, when it comes to Reboundtag I’m a fan. I’ve tried it now on two international flights and both times felt a lot calmer than usual about bidding farewell to my luggage at check-in. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one day all new luggage comes with a built-in Reboundtag-type chip. It would certainly make a lot of people’s lives easier, considering that approximately 42 million bags went missing last year, many of which were never reunited with their owners. That’s a lot of unclaimed knickers being auctioned.

Should you decide to try Reboundtag for yourself, here are some useful details:

This page explains the RFID technology behind the tag. Personally, I’m not fussed about the tech, as long as it works, but you may be interested to read more about it.

  • Each tag comes with three years’ membership.
  • You can choose between one Reboundtag at £19.99, a family pack of three at £49.95 or a business executives’ pack at £149.99. (Whichever way you look at it, that’s a small price to pay compared with the cost and trouble of replacing lost suitcase and contents.)
  • There’s also a corporate facility whereby you can order Reboundtags for all your travelling staff and have your company logo printed onto them.

Unfortunately, I can’t yet tell you how well Reboundtag works because so far, my Reboundtagged suitcase is safe and sound. Should this change, I will return here and add my experience. In the meantime, if you have a Reboundtag tale to share, please do let us know in the comments below.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. planetross says:

    If it had GPS in it like all those cool spy movies it might be better: you could track it down yourself.
    If someone’s ripping it off then it’s gone: I’m a pessimist.
    I felt more uncertain about throwing my backpack in the compartment under a bus in South America than any airline baggage check in anywhere.

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    1. epicurienne says:

      PlanetRoss, a self-service GPS tracking device for luggage probably isn’t that far off, if you think about it. Great idea! Now we just have to encourage techies to develop it. Yes, if someone rips off the Reboundtag, it would be gone, but more fool them because the thief wouldn’t be able to use the tag, although the luggage contents could be useful to them if they’re into cross-dressing, second hand clothes, dirty laundry, the wrong charger for their mobile phone/ plugs at home etc, or so I hope. Should there be new or expensive items and gifts in there, it becomes seriously inconvenient and I’ve had too many Monsieur experiences to leave this to chance anymore, thanks to baggage handling gone wrong. But I hear what you say about travelling in a bus with luggage storage out of sight underneath. Had a few moments like that travelling in South East Asia. I just wouldn’t get on the bus until the storage compartments were closed and am still surprised nothing was nicked.

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  2. razzbuffnik says:

    Good to see you’re back and I look forward to some more frequent posts!

    I need those tags on all my clothing. On my latest trip I left half of my clothing in a lovely little pension’s wardrobe that I instantly forgot the name of, when I relised what I’d done, two countries away.

    Then there was the brand new pair of runners I left behind in a Spanish hotel years ago.

    Having said that, I’ve also never lost a bag on an airline, but then again, I always put my own tags on them, on the inside and outside.

    Like

    1. epicurienne says:

      Razz- what a great idea! To chip our belongings so we can remember where we left them. Reminds me of those keyrings where you whistle and they whistle back whenever you misplace your keys.

      Like

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