Would Smart Travel Solutions Find My Luggage, Which United Airlines Lost?

Editor’s Note: Director of Events Leslie Hitchcock is a non-editorial TechCrunch employee. In addition to working at TechCrunch and being super fashionable, she reviews startups and tech products occasionally on her personal blog, Leslie Just Joined.

A few weeks ago at a dinner party, my companions and I were discussing travel startup ideas. The conversation fancifully ambled into a Bluetooth-enabled carry-on suitcase that would always stay within arm’s reach when walking through airports. How we laughed thinking about the idea.

Fast-forward to yesterday when, after waiting 45 minutes at an empty baggage claim in Newark, United Airlines announced that actually none of the checked luggage made it onto our plane. Since then, I’ve spent countless time on the phone with lost luggage “support,” which has been unable to locate my checked bag. It could be in London. It could be in Newark. No one knows. And no one seems to find this a problem except me.

Travel startups, please keep developing smart travel technology because you certainly have a new buyer: Me.

As this week is the regaled Consumer Electronics Show and startups are featured more prominently than ever in the Eureka Park section, it seems fitting to make this request. These startups run the gambit from health care solutions, to self-propelled skateboards, and more. Hopefully there will be some travel startups for me to throw my crowdfunding weight behind. Like this one coming out of MIT.

Why stop at a suitcase that can also charge my devices? Create artificial intelligence apps to help one navigate airports better. Technology to help airports deplane flights more efficiently. A suitcase that annoyingly announces its destination until it arrives, based on GPS. The possibilities are endless.

The weakest link in air travel is the airlines. If we can’t disrupt them entirely, startups should at least help us stack the deck more in our favor with technology.

Today I daydreamed about how life would be different had I not splurged on an indestructible Rimowa suitcase, but if I had one from a startup that boasts GPS instead. Then I could tell the hapless United Airlines customer service representatives where they could locate my bag and I would be happily reunited with my shoes.

And it already exists. Now that’s priceless.