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VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: Launches online baggage tracking tool on its app after bad July record of cancellations and delays

VIRGIN AUSTRALIA: Launches online baggage tracking tool on its app after bad July record of cancellations and delays

Virgin Australia has unveiled its baggage tracking tool, which it started testing back in May 2023 at selected airports and routes. The app now covers about 70% of Virgin’s network, as part of an AU$400 million investment in the airline’s technology. The rollout has also gives more options when passengers need to rebook cancelled or long delayed flights. Virgin is also claiming that its ‘middle seat lottery’, whereby those booking middle seats get entered in a lottery of prizes, is part of this investment. However, I fail to see why this ‘promotional’ lucky dip tool is being seen as a tech investment! More like a gambling promotion, I would have thought.

Onboard luggage storage on Virgin Australia's new Boeing B787MAX aircraft
Onboard luggage storage on Virgin Australia’s new Boeing B787MAX aircraft [Virgin Australia]

Ex Qantas employee responsible for baggage tracking tool

Paul Jones, Virgin Australia’s chief customer and digital officer, jumped ship from Qantas at the end of 2020, was one of CEO Jayne Hrdlicka’s first big hires. It happened about a month after the airline was sold to US private equity group Bain Capital.

At Qantas, Jones was chief operating officer and oversaw the currently judged illegal sacking of 1,500 baggage handlers. Qantas then outsourced 2,500 ground-handling roles to international companies such as Menzies, Swissport and Dnata. Qantas has appealed that ruling of illegality in the High Court and is awaiting its verdict.

Virgin Australia baggage tracking app

Baggage tracking app = good. On-time performance = bad

Qantas has been steadily improving its on-time performance and cancellations – if you don’t count Jetstar. Virgin, on the other hand, has not been doing well, it scored last place in on-time performance in July 23. Jones puts that down to air traffic control and weather. Those things affect all airlines, so that doesn’t quite explain why Virgin came last.

Virgin Australia's old interior with business Class bulkhead and magnetic bar
Virgin Australia’s old interior with business Class bulkhead and magnetic bar [Schuetz/2PAXfly]

Qantas could have had this first?

Could this also be another wrong-headed decision by Qantas?

First up Paul Jones up until 2020 did work for Qantas as an operations executive, before jumping ship to Virgin. Secondly, Qantas introduced innovative bag tag technology back in 2010 with RFID-enabled Q Bag Tags coloured to reflect travellers frequent flyer status. It could have easily expanded this technology and made it available through the Qantas app. Instead, by waiting until the pandemic induced luggage loss crisis, Qantas is now associated totally with luggage mishandling and delays.

Belatedly, Qantas has committed to make baggage tracking available in its app by the end of 2023. That makes it look like the technical dinosaur laggard it is.

a man in a suit
Paul Jones, formerly of Qantas, now Virgin Australia’s Virgin Australia’s chief customer and digital officer [Virgin Australia]

2PAXfly Takeout

Virgin Australia wants the baggage tracking facility in its app to encourage more passengers to check in their luggage. More luggage in the hold and less carry-on make for quicker boarding and disembarkation. Quickening those aspects of flying means fewer delays and quicker turn-around times. Reducing those, will definitely add to Virgin’s bottom line, and keep customers happy.


  1. Techylist

    I’m glad to see Virgin Australia launching an online baggage tracking tool on their app. This will hopefully help to improve their July record of cancellations and delays.

    • 2paxfly

      Old news Techy. Been around since July, and Qantas has promised to introduce one later this year too


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