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Fear of baggage loss drives tagging

By Nick Easen for CNN

There is a growing demand for baggage tracking.
There is a growing demand for baggage tracking.

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(CNN) -- In the last few years there have been few real innovations that make a big difference to business travel.

A few extra inches in executive class, spa rooms in hotels or a new airline route, do not necessarily revolutionize your trip.

But one novel, yet simple development has gone a long way to helping those on the road -- it involves tracing your lost luggage.

Now a simple metal tag tied to a piece of luggage is ensuring that your favorite tie for that corporate event is with you in Delhi, rather than in Denver.

"Lost and mishandled luggage is now the number one complaint of all travelers," Chris Truelove of told CNN.

"The beauty of our system is that you do not need any complicated equipment or scanners to identify the bag."

The tag has a unique serial number that is registered on a secure Web site, accompanying this is the executive's contact details and travel itinerary.

The fact is luggage loss is a growing issue. In the U.S. the top 17 carriers lost over 200,000 pieces of luggage in August 2003, according to the Department of Transport.

"This equates to around 2.6 million per year and probably around 10 million worldwide," explains Truelove.

"The present technology works reasonably well but still revolves around a paper barcode."

If the paper loop detaches itself from the handle, airlines have no idea who the bag belongs to.

And these days travelers are often not advised to openly display their name and address on the outside of their bag.

Thieves are active at airports and would be housebreakers on seeing the tag identity are aware you are going away.

"Although a good idea is to still put your name and address inside the case," believes Truelove.

The main disadvantage of the tags is that they are not effective if the bag is stolen -- an increasing problem in airports.

Truelove says he was inspired to set up Globalbagtags when his suitcases went missing on a trip to Australia.

His success has reflected a growing need for baggage tracking for travelers.

"In the past year things have gone from strength to strength, we have a worldwide membership which is now into six figures," says Truelove.

Competitors to Globalgatags have also come and gone with the legal action in two cases.

"We have 42 airlines and agents using the system, we have got a good foothold and we are almost four years in front of any new competition," says Truelove.

The cost of two tags is $17 through the Web site, owners can report lost bags online and there are rewards for anyone who find luggage.

Clients can also update contact details online if they change.

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