Lonely Planet Writer

Airport planner reveals vision for hassle-free travel

An Australian with an international reputation for airport planning, has revealed his future vision for travel which eliminates the pain of depositing and collecting bags at airports.

In the upgraded  bag handling of the future at airports, luggage will disappear into a shute leaving the traveller to walk through security and reunite with the bag at the other end of the flight
In the upgraded bag handling of the future at airports, luggage will disappear into a shute leaving the traveller to walk through security and reunite with the bag at the other end of the flight Image by Katy Warner / CC BY-SA 2.0

Greg Fordham, the managing director of Ausbiz, said he is currently working with international airlines and airports to see his vision start to become a reality by 2020.  In the Fordham future, passengers will simply drop their tagged bag into a chute on arrival at an airport. It will be delivered to a bag factory where it will be sorted, scanned and then delivered to the appropriate flight. All the while, travellers will walk through one security checkpoint that will be combined with a SmartGate.

As hand luggage is x-rayed, the SmartGate deals with passports, allowing travellers to walk through a body scanner to collect their bags, according to the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. At this point they are free to board and virtually all the hassle has disappeared from what is often a major traveller headache – getting passengers and their bags through security.

Changi Airport, Singapore.
Changi Airport, Singapore. Image by Andy Mitchell / CC BY-SA 2.0

Just to aid passengers even more, a text from the chosen carrier will signal the correct gate, allowing them to walk straight onto the plane. The improvement in travel doesn’t end there – passengers on board will be able to relax with large screens providing high-quality entertainment, free wi-fi and a self-service snack bar means eating or drinking what they want, when they want, not just when the crew serves meals.

The easy exit begins on the other side after landing, as the passengers go through the SmartGate to a reverse bag drop post. Once particular codes are scanned in, the luggage is returned. The airports of the future will virtually eliminate lost luggage while delayed take off times will become a thing of the past.

Mr Fordham believes that his vision is not just a pipe dream, but is something that airports should now consider investing in to improve their baggage systems. He said some of the more progressive airports and carriers were already moving quickly in this area. Singapore’s Changi Airport is in this category, while US airline Delta is also forward thinking in embracing the vision. He said Ausbiz is working with carriers who see such systems as coming in within the next four years.