Travel news: New baggage tracking tool, plus cheapest insurance

Lost luggage is the bane of travelling and it only seems to have become worse since we returned to travel after the pandemic.

Well, Virgin Australia has announced it will be rolling out a tracking tool that could take the pain out of missing luggage. 

The system is an app-based logistic that informs passengers when their baggage has been checked in, loaded onto the aircraft, transferred to a connecting flight if required and at which baggage carousel it will be arriving.

Domestic and international coverage

Regular Virgin domestic travellers have been using the app on a portion of the airline’s domestic routes, but it will now be expanded to cover all Virgin domestic and international flights. 

“Australians find comfort in the ability to track food deliveries, postal deliveries, technology, even their heart rate, all via apps, and it made sense for travellers to be able to do the same thing when flying Virgin Australia,” said Paul Jones, chief customer and digital officer, Virgin Australia.

“By further enhancing our Australian-first baggage tracking technology to include all international services and additional notifications, we are giving guests the peace of mind to know where their baggage is at every step of the journey,” said Mr Jones.

If you want to track your luggage on Virgin, follow these steps:

  • download the Virgin Australia app. It’s free!
  • enable push notifications via app settings
  • once enabled, a series of push notifications will be sent to your phone throughout the journey, including when the bag is checked in, loaded onto the aircraft, transferred to an international partner airline, and available for collection at the final destination. The tool will also advise the guest at which carousel the baggage will be available for collection.

For more information, visit travel-info/baggage/baggage-tracking-faq/”here.

Best travel insurance

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Interview: Michael Grossman, Director, STARR Insurance Companies

How does your previous experience as Director at Hotel Insiders help you in your current role?

I’ve seen the travel insurance industry from both the buyer’s and the seller’s perspectives. That experience gives me a better understanding of the buyer’s mindset and how to develop plans that meet the customer’s needs.

Travel insurance is going through a lot of changes due to Covid – are there any changes you welcome and that you hope stick around?

We’ve noticed people increasing their bookings at the last minute, yet they are likely to increase to purchase travel insurance. Pre-Covid, people were better about planning trips far in advance and making sure they bought travel insurance to protect their investment. Now, because of what they’ve learned about risk amid a pandemic, they’re not just concerned about the trip cost – they want to cover the risk of a medical crisis while traveling. We welcome that heightened awareness of risk.

What about some of the difficulties, how have you been overcoming challenges related to the pandemic?

We have closely watched the post-Covid trends on claims stemming from policies that offer coverage for canceling a trip for any reason – so-called CFAR insurance. We expected a spike in those kinds of claims but didn’t see it. The reason is that most travel suppliers proactively offered refunds and reimbursements for people who had to cancel trips because of Covid.

One difficulty we’ve had to manage is training our call center representatives to serve our customers’ needs and address their concerns under extraordinary circumstances. As the pandemic emerged, call volume surged, even from people who didn’t have claims, and of course claim volume rose as well. We had to create new documents that provided proof of Covid-related coverage.

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