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Virgin Australia makes history with baggage tracking perk

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The airline has become the first in Australia to launch a baggage-tracking tool.

Virgin Australia has delighted travellers this week after it announced the release of its baggage-tracking tool, a first in Australia.

From Monday August 28, travellers on select Virgin Australia flights will be able track the status of their checked baggage via the Virgin Australia app.

"It's our mission to be Australia's most loved airline and that means we need to listen to our customers to ensure we are offering the services that are most important to them," said Paul Jones ,Virgin Australia Group Chief Customer and Digital Officer.

The official roll-out comes after a successful trial in May 2023.

How the tracking tool works

Airlines are already required to track every piece of luggage at various points on its journey. Virgin Australia's tracking tool now makes that information available to travellers.

To use the tool, travellers will need to download the Virgin Australia app and enable push notifications via the app settings.

Once enabled, updates about the bag's location will be sent, including when it's checked in, transferred to an international partner airline, and available for collection at the final destination. The tool will also advise which carousel the baggage can be collected from.

Which flights will get baggage tracking?

Baggage tracking will be available on almost 70% of Virgin Australia domestic flights, including select flights departing the following airports from Monday 28 August, 2023.

  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Brisbane
  • Adelaide
  • Gold Coast
  • Canberra
  • Newcastle
  • Ballina Byron
  • Sunshine Coast
  • Hamilton Island
  • Launceston
  • Hobart
  • Townsville
  • Rockhampton
  • Mackay

Lost luggage a growing problem

Virgin Australia's announcement is a timely one as lost luggage has become a growing issue for travellers all over the world.

SITA's 2023 Baggage Insights Report estimated that some 26 million pieces of luggage were lost in 2022, taking mishandling rates to a 10-year high.

The report also found the increase was largely due to issues during transfers from flight to flight, which accounted for 42% of lost, damaged or delayed baggage.

That's not to say Virgin Australia is a known offender. The airline has a lost baggage rate of just 1.5 per 1,000 guests - significantly lower than the global average of 7.6 pieces per 1,000 guests.

Lost in Honolulu - $540 saved

Flying from Kona to San Francisco in May 2023, Zaid Ansari had a layover of just 1.5 hours in Honolulu. His first flight was delayed but he made it just in time to catch the second one. Unfortunately, his luggage didn't.

"When we reached San Francisco, we kept waiting for our bags at the baggage claim but the belt had stopped and they weren't there. We asked the Hawaiian airlines staff and they confirmed our bags were still in Honolulu but we'd be able to get them the following day."

With no toiletries or clothing to get by, Zaid bought a range of essentials to use in the interim.

"My costs for the day, including the necessities and Ubers to and from the airport, came out to be around $540. I lodged a claim with all the receipts, it was processed within three weeks and I got all my money back."

Can travel insurance help with lost or delayed baggage?

Travel insurance can be a huge help when dealing with lost or delayed baggage, helping travellers cover the cost of essential supplies while they wait for their belongings to show up.

BrandDelayed luggage limitIf delayed for…Further details
Fast Cover LogoUp to $750More than 12 hoursYou must obtain written confirmation of delay, misdirection, or misplacement from the carrier who was responsible for your luggage and personal effects, the length of the delay, and details of any compensation provided to you. We will deduct any amount we pay you under this benefit for any subsequent claim for permanently lost luggage and personal effects.
southern cross travel insuranceUp to $1,000More than 12 hoursWe only cover you if you give us both:
  • the original receipts for the essential clothing and toiletries
  • a delayed baggage report.
Covermore travel insuranceUp to $1,500More than 12 hoursThe original receipts for the items and confirmation of the length of delay from the Transport Provider must be produced in support of Your claim.
Tick travel insuranceUp to $400More than 24 hours1. There is no cover under this section if your baggage is delayed on your final inward journey returning home.
2. You must get written confirmation of the length of the delay from the appropriate airline or transport company and you must keep all receipts for the essential items you buy. If your baggage is permanently lost we will deduct any payment we make for delayed baggage from your overall claim for baggage.
Allianz travel insuranceUp to $500More than 12 hoursYou will need to make reasonable efforts to obtain confirmation from the carrier who was responsible for your luggage and personal effects confirming that your items were delayed, misdirected or misplaced as this may be the easiest way to provide evidence of the delay.

If your items are not returned to you and are considered to be permanently lost, we will deduct the amount we have paid you under this benefit from any payable claim you have made under Benefit 4.1 Luggage, Personal Effects & Valuables for those items

Baggage tracking is a great perk, but it won't help if you're stuck somewhere without your belongings - but travel insurance can. Get a quote in a few clicks and compare some of Australia's favourite brands side-by-side.

Image: @Yuliia Chyzhevska via Canva.com

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