Giving your luggage a voice

Wouldn’t it be great if you could monitor how your luggage is handled?

We’ve all been there. We travel and our luggage looks like it’s been through a war zone. After you check your bags and buy overpriced Starbucks coffee, your bag is being punted like a 50 yard field goal. Your souvenir precious moments, coo coo clock or whatever valuable souvenir from your trip is now in a billion pieces. Worse yet, you bought a valuable gift such as jewelry for your wife or girl friend and the noble TSA agents or baggage handlers open your bags for an “inspection” only to make off with your gift. How can you prove it? Without evidence or luggage insurance, you’re just out of luck. Statistically speaking, it’s inevitable that something will happen to your luggage as every year 24 million bags are mishandled. If you fly long enough, eventually something will happen. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a nanny cam for your luggage?

Bag Sentry Luggage Protection Device
Bag Sentry or Sentinel with Android App

There’s a new start-up project for a device called “BagSentry” also known as a “Sentinel”. The device is a USB powered monitor with a light sensor and motion sensors which record whether the bag has been opened or jarred while the luggage is being processed. The Sentinel can even detect if the bag has been left out in the rain or out on the hot tarmac, cooking your belongings. Other features are its ability to track airports, so you know exactly where your belongings have been. Anything that happens to your bags during the trip can be accessed via an android app. If a detailed report is required, such as claiming compensation for lost, stolen or damaged luggage, the Sentinel can be plugged into any computer’s usb port and produce a detailed pdf file of everything happening to the luggage.

Bag Sentry informs you if your luggage is disturbed.
BagSentry has a Luggage monitoring app

Critique of the BagSentry luggage monitor

Though this is a brilliant product, and would certainly help make baggage handlers and TSA agents more accountable, there are still some drawbacks. The first and most important downside is the price. Each Sentinel is expected to retail for $130 a piece. If you are a family of 4 that’s $520 right away. The pdf reports are not gratis. If your luggage is damaged, BagSentry charges $4 for a complete report to turn into the airline for compensation. The second suggestion would be to add a small camera to the device which will take a picture should the bag be opened. If something is stolen, it’s important to have evidence as to exactly who opened the bag. Hopefully future versions will include a camera and market competition will bring the price down so we can all secure our luggage.

A big thank you to Gizmoeditor.com for bringing this product to our attention!.

What if your flight is disrupted and the airline refuses to compensate you?

Justice for airline travelers

Often times if a flight is either delayed or canceled, it’s difficult to determine whether the passenger is entitled to compensation. To make matters worse, for travelers who consult the so-called experts at travel advice websites such as “trip adviser”, the answer can be extremely confusing. Between the frivolous demands for compensation, even if the traveler is negligent, and the knee jerk “customer is always right attitude” which prevails on websites like trip adviser, customers often have difficulty sorting good advice from useless advice.

According to new EU regulations, passengers are now entitled to compensation from airlines due to excessive delays or cancellations. To assist passengers, there’s an organization of expert lawyers, specializing in aviation law to fight for the rights of consumers. They have created a website to assist customers with their claims based on the facts of the case. On the website flightright.com, a customer is able to enter the flight information and the details of the flight in question and receive instant advice on how to proceed. The website is also able to query the official flight data on the flight in question and determine the veracity of the claim. In other words, it’s not enough to just “claim” there was a 2 hour delay, causing a missed connection, this website is able to query the official records of the flight and verify whether the information is true without wasting either the lawyer’s or the customer’s valuable time. If no compensation is available for the flight in question, the website will give an answer based on current aviation laws and the incident in question. Should a traveler be entitled to compensation, the website will provide information to the traveler on how to claim their compensation. Since the legal team at flight right only gets paid if their lawsuit is successful, they will only take cases which have a strong legal claim.

By using resources such as “flightright.com”, airline travelers with legitimate complaints can receive the compensation they deserve, and hopefully the amount of frivolous claims can be simultaneously reduced.