Eighty-two thousand! That’s the number of suitcases and bags lost each year around the world, including 10,000 in Europe alone. Those which are lucky enough to be reunited with their owners are sometimes in a bad state, either damaged or forced open by lost property services or airlines in order to identify the owner. To avoid this, E-lostbag has developed an RFID chip for use either by private individuals or for tourism operators to offer to their customers.

Second only to being involved in an accident, losing your luggage is among the traveller’s worst nightmare. Up until now, the boarding label has been the only means of identifying a lost case’s owner, but when this is damaged or illegible, the sole solution is… to break it open. Worse still, if the owner can’t be identified, the suitcase and its contents end up either being thrown away or sold at auction.

But now a preventive solution could exist in the shape of the E-lostbag chip. How does it work? You order your chip on the developer’s website and create your personal account. Once received, the chip is glued inside the bag or case and a label affixed to the exterior to indicate that it is equipped with the system. Reassuringly, no personal information is recorded on the chip, in order to protect the confidential nature of the passenger’s information. If an E-lostbag partner (an airline, a hotel, etc.) finds the luggage, they can identify the owner via an RFID reader and contact them in order to return their property. If the item is found by a non-partner company or a private individual, a system for direct identification is also provided.

E-lostbag already has 3,000 clients with this system in Switzerland, 6,000 in the US and 1,000 in France, and the company hopes to attract even more travel agencies, airlines, hotels, etc. in order to boost the service’s effectiveness. As E-lostbag emphasise, it’s available free of charge and could constitute a useful extra to offer customers.