Prevent Lost Luggage: Tips from Frequent FlyersJuly 15, 2022
Ah, yes, the baggage claim. The place to test the mettle of any man and drive him to the brink.
Will your luggage stroll its leisurely stroll down the carousel, or will your reunification be marred by the airport baggage department.
In the second half of 2021, airlines in the US lost or mishandled 1.25 million bags, an 80% increase compared to the first half of the year. With that said, perhaps we should take some steps toward avoiding adding to this statistic.
This brings us to our topic for today – how to prevent losing your luggage.
We scoured the net and compiled the best tips from frequent fliers, so you can learn from the best how to avoid the bureaucratic nightmare of filing a lost luggage claim.
You know that meme where you have a flight at 16:00 hours, but your parents wake you up at four in the morning instead? Well, they might be right.
One of the primary ways luggage becomes lost is because you’re cutting it too close to your boarding and departure. In fact, around 77% of pieces of luggage are delayed, rather than lost.
You see, airlines are handling hundreds of thousands of bags every day, and it takes them time to sort out all the luggage and place it on the correct flights.
If you don’t give your luggage enough time to be properly processed, chances are, it’ll miss your flight, despite your boarding.
This is why most experienced flyers arrive 60-90 minutes early for their domestic flights, and up to 2 hours early for international ones.
One more caveat: this doesn’t just apply to your initial flights, but all subsequent flights, unless you’re flying directly to your destination.
Use Luggage Tags
An experienced flier never relies on just the adhesive tag they get from an airline. No, they tag the crap out of their bags, inside and outside.
Indeed, one of the most common tips people give to new fliers is to tag their luggage, multiple times if possible. These tags are designed to enable you to present your name and contact information, so that your bags can be returned to you in case they become lost or misplaced.
Now, we know what you’re thinking, leaving your contact info might not be the smartest idea – you never know what kind of creeps lurk in airports. People steal luggage all the time, and giving your personal info to a thief is not the smartest idea.
To that we say – limit the info you put on your tags. Before the advent of the internet, and, by extension, email, you had no choice but to leave your phone number. Nowadays, you can just leave your email, as it’s much harder to trace your physical location through your email address than through your phone number, especially if you have a landline.
Furthermore, you can opt for something more high-tech. Nowadays, we have access to tags with embedded QR codes, as well as microchips that let you track your bags through an app. These will cost you more than regular tags, but not so much that you shouldn’t consider them.
Pack Your Itinerary Info
One vital piece of information you always ought to pack with you is your itinerary. And you should make it as detailed as possible, too!
The reason behind this is that, if your luggage becomes lost or delayed, and is later found while you’re still in the air, the airline can then see where you’re going, and send your luggage there directly.
As we said before, most luggage is delayed rather than lost (only about 5% of luggage is actually lost), so, with a detailed itinerary, you stand a good chance of recovering your bags.
Take Photographic Evidence
Taking photos is fun, but it can also be useful!
As you’re packing, make sure to photograph your belongings, as well as your suitcase/bag/minifridge/whatever container you see fit to hold your stuff.
This does seem tedious, but it will help greatly with identifying your luggage should it become misplaced.
Another thing experienced fliers also do is catalog their belongings, in addition to taking photos. This includes information such as the general description of an item (size, shape, color), as well as its age and its price tag.
This last bit is interesting, and most people wouldn’t think to include a price tag, but frequent fliers know that most airlines offer compensation for lost items based on their age and initial price.
Ladies, you’ve surely heard this gem from your hairier halves: ”Why are you packing half the house? We’ll only be there a few days.”
We know, they’re being ignorant, you need this for that, and that for this and everything in between, but sometimes traveling light might be a better option than facing the drudgery of going through baggage claim.
Sometimes, a carry-on might be a more economical choice, both in terms of funds (you’re avoiding all the fees), time (you don’t have to show up early and go through the whole process), and effort (you don’t have to listen to your husband huff and puff trying to show off his guns by carrying all your stuff).
Moreover, carry-on bags can be quite spacious, while also being quite compact. Take, for example, the Flex Aura Cabin Plus suitcase. This super light suitcase is designed to fit into any airline’s carry-on category, while having a 5.5 Ib. and 42 l storage capacity. That’s a lot, coming from a suitcase that measures 21.6 x 15.7 x 9 inches, and can be compressed to be no thicker than 2 inches while empty.
Make Your Luggage Unique
One final thing – let your inner self shine through your luggage!
This may sound like one of those Live-Laugh-Love posters, but, in reality, it’s quite practical.
Just think about it – most suitcases are either black, olive, or gray. This makes them quite indistinguishable from one another, and that can lead to either you or someone else snatching the wrong one.
This is why most frequent fliers tend to decorate their luggage with stickers and whatnot. It makes them not only look stylish, but also quite unique and easily recognizable.
Consider also this – some brands also offer the service of engraving your initials into your suitcases. It does up the cost of buying a suitcase, but that cost is well worth it if it means you won’t lose it and all the stuff in it.
In the end, there are actually a lot of things you can do to prevent your luggage from getting lost.
Remember that the staff that handles baggage is still human, and they can, and will, make mistakes.
So, why make things harder for them? You certainly wouldn’t want to handle thousands of bags on a daily basis if they were completely indistinguishable, so why not make yours just that little bit different, so the good folks working in airports don’t mix them up.
On top of that, be diligent when it comes to handling your luggage on your end.
Arrive early, keep everything tagged properly, and, overall, show your luggage respect, and we’re certain the baggage handling folks will show it the same respect as well.
Tomas is a digital marketing specialist and a freelance blogger. His work is focusing on new web tech trends and digital voice distribution across different channels.