Delta’s app now offers a map view so you can watch your bags go AWOL in real-time

delta baggage tracking 43910047  suitcases multicolor stacked for transport one above the other
Area123/123RF
Flying is stressful enough without having to worry about whether your checked luggage will turn up on the carousel once you reach your destination.

In a bid to improve its service and ensure your bags end up in the same place as you do, Delta earlier this year introduced Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tracking tags for bags. The system helps the carrier accurately track passengers’ baggage as it makes its way through the airport, onto the plane and, hopefully, to the correct destination. The RFID system, which is more reliable than the current barcode-scanning system, is currently operational at 84 U.S. airports, with international locations coming soon.delta-bag-tracking

The bonus is that the system also offers the baggage data to passengers, sending push notifications as to its whereabouts via the airline’s Fly Delta smartphone app.

Building on the service, Delta this week announced it’s adding real-time mapping information so you can check on the precise location of your checked luggage at all times. That’s right, you can track your bag on a map.

“We’re the first carrier to offer this level of visibility,” Delta’s Bill Lentsch said on Tuesday. “From the moment our customers drop off their bag, we want them to know we’re looking out for it every step of the way and working to take the stress out of flying one innovation at a time.”

So how does the new map functionality work? According to Delta, when one of its passengers wants to see the location of their luggage, they start by viewing a zoomed out map of the U.S. as the bag travels from one airport to the next.

“The map then automatically zooms to ‘airport view’ and users can follow their bag along its journey via pins, with the last known location identified by a suitcase icon. Tapping any of the pins or the icon will provide additional text information about the location of the bag,” the airline explained.

While it may provide peace of mind for some travelers, the feature could end up adding more stress to the journey for others. After all, what if it looks like your bag is heading to the wrong aircraft, but you can’t be sure? What if you find yourself obsessively watching the progression of your suitcase on its journey to your plane instead of enjoying a good read or simply chilling out in the departure lounge? And what if you think your bag isn’t on your plane – though you’re not sure – as it leaves the gate, leaving you on edge for the entire journey?

All passengers want is for their bags to turn up at the correct destination without having to fret about it, and without having to monitor it for themselves. The new mapping feature is a good idea, but is it a great idea? Sound off in the comments below.

Business

Singapore Airlines passengers unsettled by cameras in seat-back displays

A number of passengers flying with Singapore Airlines recently expressed concern over cameras embedded in seat-back displays on some of its aircraft, though the carrier insists the devices have been disabled.
Home Theater

Bask in the glory of your home theater with these 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray movies

What good is a 4K TV if you don't have the means of pushing it to its limits? Here are our favorite 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, all of which are nothing short of stunning. It'll make you wonder why you haven't always watched movies this way.
Gaming

Want to play as Iron Man or Waluigi in GTA V? Our favorite mods make it possible

Grand Theft Auto V is best on the PC for many reasons, and modifications may be the most important. You can cause riots, spawn unique cars, and play as a cop with just a few extra files.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.
Emerging Tech

DeepSqueak is a machine learning A.I. that reveals what rats are chatting about

Want to know what rats are squeaking about? You'd better check out DeepSqueak, the new deep learning artificial intelligence developed by researchers at the University of Washington.
Health & Fitness

Immune cell discovery takes us one step closer to a universal flu vaccine

A group of international researchers have made a discovery which could take us one step closer to the universal, one-shot flu vaccine that people around the world have been dreaming of.
Photography

NASA celebrates Earth’s incredible natural beauty with free photo book

NASA has published a fabulous new book featuring stunning imagery captured by its satellites over the years. A hardback version is available for $53, though it can also be downloaded to ebook readers for free, and enjoyed online.
Deals

This new all-in-one flashlight is a power bank, lighter, and screwdriver

The Pyyros modular flashlight can perform numerous field tasks, from hammering to starting fires. If you back it on Kickstarter now, you can score some savings on this innovative flashlight and multi-tool, but act fast: This early-bird…
Movies & TV

Hilarious new Kickstarter aims to fix Scorcese’s last scene in The Departed

A fan of The Departed and apparent hater of rat-as-symbolism imagery has launched a Kickstarter campaign to digitally erase the rodent from the end of Martin Scorsese’s 2006 movie.
Emerging Tech

Baristas beware, Bbox cafe uses robots to brew your morning coffee

Want your morning coffee and pastry prepared by robot? Bbox, a new coffee shop in downtown Berkeley, California, lets customers place their order by app and then uses automation to take care of the rest.
Emerging Tech

This ridiculous new flamethrower makes Elon Musk’s look like a cigarette lighter

The XL18 Flamethrower is a flame-shooting beast on steroids, capable of firing off bursts of flame more than 110 feet in length. The best part? You can order it over the internet today.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX just nailed its most challenging Falcon 9 rocket landing to date

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.