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Delta Air Lines Introduces Tracking Tags to Combat Lost Luggage



Nothing frustrates airline passengers more than arriving at the baggage carousel only to find their suitcase hasn’t. Sometimes, the luggage is still at the departure airport. Other times, it could be anywhere.

Delta Air Lines, which says the amount of luggage it mishandles is low, has spent $50 million (U.S.) in new technology to keep better track of the 120 million bags it checks each year. The system launched this month.

It’s replacing an old barcode system with RFID technology, also known as radio frequency identification. It allows for data to be read at a distance, easily pinpointing a single bag if it needs to come off a plane.

The airline has deployed 4,600 scanners and 3,800 bag tag printers at airports around the world. Conveyer belt loaders have sensors that give the green light if the suitcase is headed to the right plane, and a red light if it’s not, so a baggage handler can redirect it.

Australia’s Qantas Airways has used similar technology for its automatic bag drop system on domestic flights, which the airline says has shortened lines. Elite frequent flyers receive a reuseable RFID bag tag, and other passengers can buy one. An estimated 1.5 million permanent tags have been issued in the past two years.

In Canada, no airline has plans to adopt the tags yet, though Air Canada is running a test in its Montreal and Frankfurt warehouses for cargo shipments.

“While we have no immediate plans to introduce it for customer baggage, we will certainly be following the introduction of this technology closely to see if it is something that could be of value to our customers,” said spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick.

WestJet Airlines spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said the airline has reviewed the technology but has no plans to run any trials. “As a low-cost carrier we are highly aware of the expense of such tools,” she said. “In addition, the hardware and infrastructure would require installation at each airport.”

Porter Airlines spokesman Brad Cicero said the carrier’s baggage mishandling rate for the last two years is 0.4 per 1,000 passengers, “so we’re very comfortable with this standard and our current processes.”

Delta first began using RFID technology for verifying inventory such as oxygen masks and flotation devices on planes, where every item was tagged, and a sensor could quickly count the required items on board and their expiration dates.

Justin Patton, director of Auburn University’s RFID Lab in Alabama, says he expects that Delta’s move could spur industry change.

“Delta doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Baggage is often transferred between airlines, so we expect that this will be a catalyst for remaining airlines to switch over for RFID tracking,” he said.

RFID exists mostly in two versions — an active one that includes a battery with a lifespan of about two to three years, and passive devices that could live forever. A sensor or detector can then detect the items, and depending on power, the reading range can vary.

It was first developed during the Second World War to identify friendly aircraft versus enemy aircraft.

RFID technology, which includes a small chip and antenna sometimes as small as a grain of rice, is already used extensively in our daily lives — from the security pass to get into the office to the keyless entry in cars to microchip tracking in a dog or cat, Patton said.

Hotels and resorts embed washable tags in towels and fancy robes to keep track of linens. They could one day attach them to a room service tray, so staff can detect if it has been placed outside a guest room, ready for clearing.

These devices are used by libraries to keep track of books, or even the tap mechanism to pay by credit card.

“It’s just one of those things that snuck up on people, and we never really put a name on it,” said Patton.

In Patton’s case, when his son was born last year, the hospital put an RFID tag on the baby’s ankle. The hospital had a sensor system in place that would immediately lock down elevators if the baby was taken on an unauthorized trip.

That showed Patton just how widespread RFIDs are used in our daily lives. “I wasn’t expecting to be right back in RFID-land before we even left the delivery room,” he said.

Some nursing homes are also testing RFID bracelets for patients with Alzheimer’s who may be at risk of wandering, he said.

“From the cradle to the grave, you could have an RFID tag,” Patton said, conceding there are certainly privacy concerns.

However, he argued an oil rig worker or coal miner might be willing to forgo some privacy for safety reasons to ensure they can be found more easily in the event of an accident.

RFID devices are also being used in the cargo business, said Aaron Lamkin, director of sales and manufacturing at TrackX Inc., a Denver-based company. It specializes in software systems that can link with RFID devices with GPS to track assets.

For example, a larger tractor-trailer company could keep better track of its vehicles if each one is outfitted with RFID stickers, especially when they arrive in a giant yard.

Instead of a gate with a guard keeping track of vehicles on a clipboard with paper and pen, the trailers could be quickly found.

Lamkin said another client is a U.S. government agency that operates on a sprawling campus with 10 office towers, where 600 different readers have been installed and valued items from laptops to phones are tagged, and can be easily tracked.

Other examples include keeping track of equipment that is rented or lent out such as beer kegs to bars or even racks that hold flowers for sale in a nursery.

Lamkin cited the example of sending 2,000 racks to a farmer to hold flowers that wind up at a retailer outlet, with no way to track them, or to prove that they weren’t returned.

Install solar powered readers in the farmer’s field, sensors at the company warehouse and retailer, and then people can be accountable for how long they’ve had the items, he said.

“Even though they may be inexpensive items, when you look at scale, they are highly valuable to the company that owns them,” he said.

“The cost of RFID is going way down, and the readers and the antennas keep getting better, with better read ranges,” he said.

Auburn University’s Patton said the tags used by retailers have dropped in cost in recent years, and now range from 4 to 10 cents apiece.

For retailers, the use of the RFID technology can simplify inventory tracking, but also prevent counterfeiting or theft.

Patton expects that soon, shipping will move from a single quantity level to individual tracking, though he said some items wouldn’t be worth tracking at a micro-level such as a tonne of apples.

However, it might be handy to track jars of peanut butter in case of recalls or other food for expiration dates.

Patton expects to see more integration between RFIDs and smartphones, where a consumer might pick up a package of meat or other food, and tap on it, and find out which farm it came from and when.

“We will be able to see more history at a personal level. I think that will be the next wave,” he said, though the main challenge will be matching software and hardware systems, moving from measuring one data field to thousands.

“It will take years before we fully get there.”

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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