My suitcase landed where?! Your phone knows

GlobaTrac demoed a device at CES Unveiled that tracks your luggage in real time.

Trakdot tracks your luggage. Paul Sloan/CNET

LAS VEGAS--A company called GlobaTrac is hoping to make a big business out of the painful reality that airlines are so good at losing luggage.

GlobaTrac, based in Los Angeles, is at CES 2013 to show off Trakdot, a small, battery-powered device that sits in your suitcase and tracks your luggage -- whichever airport it might end up at. The device works using GSM -- the Federal Aviation Authority won't allow such devices to use GPS -- and sends messages directly to as many cell phones as you assign to it. So if you're flying to Paris, and your luggage flies to London, you'll get a message on your phone saying that's where your bag is. Still a pain, of course, but at least you'll know.

As for demand? That seems easy. Mayer Alexander, GlobaTrac's VP of sales for North America, rattled off some stats from the FAA: of the 140 million people who flew more than once last year, he said, 26 million lost their luggage -- or, more correctly, an airline lost their luggage. Which explains why Alexander says the company has been flooded of preorders. He said the Trakdot, which costs $49.99, will be available in March.

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About the author

Paul Sloan is editor in chief of CNET News. Before joining CNET, he had been a San Francisco-based correspondent for Fortune magazine, an editor at large for Business 2.0 magazine, and a senior producer for CNN. When his fingers aren't on a keyboard, they're usually on a guitar. Email him here.

 

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