International airport has not lost single piece of luggage for thirty years

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An international airport in Japan are absolutely killing the baggage handling game

Most airports I know of all have reputations, but the things they are renowned for aren’t exactly a point of pride.

The majority of travellers are used to navigating pricey car parks, standing in lengthy queues and breaking the bank at overpriced food outlets.

It’s not exactly the ideal start, or end, to a jolly holiday.

But in other corners of the world, transport hubs are well-oiled machines and places where you can actually enjoy your pre-flight intermission with the peace of mind that you are in good hands.

There’s one international airport in particular which is adored by holidaymakers, as it seems to have achieved the impossible by not losing a single piece of luggage since the day it opened its doors in September 1994.

Japan’s Kansai International Airport probably doesn’t even have a lost and found department, because it simply does not need one as staff are very much on the ball when it comes to getting suitcases from A to B.

People from Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe rely on the busy airport to get them to where they want to go and everyone has got great things to say about it – especially because of the fact there isn’t a blemish on their luggage handling record.

It’s long been ranked as one of the world’s best airports due to it’s exemplary staff, while SkyTrax, a UK aviation website, have even given it eight mentions specifically for it’s lack of lost luggage.

As Kansai gets ready to celebrate it’s 30th birthday in September this year, they are also toasting to three decades without losing track of someone’s bag and ruining their holiday outfit plans.

Kansai International Airport is killing the luggage handling game (Getty stock photo)

Kansai International Airport is killing the luggage handling game (Getty stock photo)

Despite boasting a model baggage system, which other travel hubs ought to take heed of, the airport’s spokesperson, Kenji Takanishi, humbly shrugged it off as no big deal.

He told Newsweek: “The ground handling staff at Kansai International Airport is nothing special.”

But it turns out that Kansai uses quite the seamless system to ensure that every item of luggage is reunited with its owner.

Staff work in small groups, usually of two or three, so that there is only a short chain of custody with each bag.

Employees refer to a detailed manual which outlines the specific rules from each airline of how to load and unload items on the plane, while handling them with extreme care to avoid damage.

Communication is also key in this game, as workers immediately alert each other if any issues arise and get straight on the case if they need to track a piece of luggage down in the £15 billion airport.

The travel hub has not lost a single piece of luggage in 30 years (Getty stock photo)

The travel hub has not lost a single piece of luggage in 30 years (Getty stock photo)

Kansai’s target is to get a suitcase from the cargo hold and to baggage claim within 15 minutes of the flight touching down, while they even go the extra mile and place them with their handles facing outward so they are easier for people to grab.

Takanishi said that when suitcases get wet from the rain, staff ‘wipe and return’ them to the carousel.

Passengers travelling with bulky items like prams or sports equipment even get their gear ‘hand delivered’ to them, according to the spokesperson, to ensure they aren’t damaged.

Honestly, what more could you want?

“Since many customers come to Kansai from all over the world, we aim to be more courteous and accurate in our operations,” Takanishi added.

A whopping 30 million travellers and 11 million pieces of luggage are handled by Kansai each year, so they certainly have a big job on their hands.

Yet, it just goes to show that a bit of team work really does make the dream work – and that anarchy in the airport shouldn’t be the norm.

Oh, but there is just one teeny tiny problem with this very busy and important airport – it’s sinking into the sea.

Featured Image Credit: Getty stock photos

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