LAS VEGAS--Stepping off a plane to discover that your luggage has gone missing is a major annoyance for travelers, and an all too common one. Even worse is the feeling of not knowing how long it will take the airline to locate it and return it safely to you.
GlobaTrac's Trakdot luggage tracking system aims to eliminate that problem--or at least provide some peace of mind in case your luggage goes missing. The Trakdot is a palm-sized cellular-based tracking device that you pair with your cell phone and pack in your suitcase before you check your bag. Once you land at your destination, the Trakdot will send an SMS message or an e-mail to your phone, which notifies you of your bag's location. The device can be paired with up to 20 mobile numbers.
So, if you land in Los Angeles and everything ran smoothly, Trakdot will send a message saying it (and your bag) is in Los Angeles, too. And if you have an Android or iOS device, you can use Trakdot's free app to give you more information about your bag's location, like where it is on the baggage carousel. (The apps aren't live in the App Store or Google Play Store yet, but should be there when the device goes on sale this spring, according to a GlobaTrac representative.)
But let's say you land in Los Angeles, and Trakdot tells you that your bag is in Denver instead--just tell the airline that your bag is missing and that your Trakdot notified you where it is. That should speed up the process of returning your bag to you.
The Trakdot uses its own GlobaTrac-owned slice of GSM spectrum. The company claims that the device is 100 percent FAA compliant--it automatically goes into sleep mode once it reaches a certain altitude, and wakes back up once it's back in a cellular range.
The device runs on two AA batteries, and will be available for purchase at the end of March. The Trakdot unit costs $50, with a $9 one-time activation fee, and then a $13 annual service fee.