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Delta fliers, now you can track your bags on your mobile app

A Delta Air Lines jet sits at a gate at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
(David Goldman/Associated Press)

Delta Air Lines passengers can now track the journey of their checked luggage in real time on the carrier’s mobile app. Thanks to high-tech tags, you’ll receive a notification when your bag is loaded on the airplane, when it’s taken off and which carousel to go to for pickup.

Delta spent $50 million for RFID, or radio-frequency identification, on bag tags it rolled out in April, according to a news release. The airline was looking for a better way than bar-code scans to manage the estimated 120 million bags it handles each year.

Here’s how it works: A chip in the tag IDs the bag and sends notifications to passengers who use the Track on Map option on the Fly Delta app. This is the same app that displays your boarding pass.

Delta says it is first among U.S. carriers to use this technology. Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) and McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas had already installed RFID technology for checked bags.

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In the bigger picture, these smart tags could take a bite out of the millions of bags mishandled by all airlines each year, including 23.1 million in 2015. The number sounds big, but it represents a 50% drop since 2007, according to SITA Baggage Report 2016.

And worldwide use of the technology could bring that number down an additional 25% by 2022, according to a projection by the International Air Transport Assn.

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