Take a Few Precautions Now to Make Sure Your Luggage Goes Where You Go on Your Next Flight

Limiting connections, watching your bags, and removing old tags are some things that can help

How to Make Sure Your Luggage Goes Wherever You Go on Your Next Vacation
Image: Pixabay
August 21, 2019

If you've ever lost luggage when flying, you know how frustrating it can be to get it back. It is particularly irritating because there is almost nothing you can do to find it yourself. Rather than find yourself sitting around after your flight, take a few minutes beforehand to make it less likely that your luggage will get lost and more likely that it will find its way home if it is lost.

  1. Fly Direct So Your Luggage Flies Direct
  2. One of the biggest causes of lost luggage is a connecting flight. If your connection is tight and you are racing to make it, there's a good chance your luggage won't make it on the plane. Even if you don't have a tight connection, mistakes happen and your luggage might end up on a different plane and a different city. If you have to catch a connecting flight, try to give yourself at least 45 minutes between connections. This gives your bags a better chance of getting on your flight with you.

  3. Make Sure Your Luggage Gets Checked-In
  4. Airlines employees are stressed because of the nature of the job. We get that! They're human and can make honest mistakes. So when checking in, watch your bags and make sure the employee places the correct tag on your luggage. You don't want your tag placed on the wrong bags.

  5. Apply Your Tags Carefully
  6. Self-check-in kiosks are great! It allows you to breeze through the airport. But when printing and applying your own bag tags, be careful. Make sure to follow the directions and apply the tags with care. Make sure the bag code and city code are clearly visible. You want it as easy as possible for airline employees to know where your bag is supposed to go.

  7. Check In Early
  8. The later you check in, the more likely it will be for you to become separated from your luggage. Airlines need time to get your luggage on the plane and you might not be giving them enough time.

  9. Make Sure Nothing Protrudes
  10. Protruding luggage parts, such as shoulder straps and carrying handles, can get hung up on conveyor belt systems. Take care that any such parts of your luggage are tucked in. Your luggage may get damaged or your tag may get torn off.

  11. Don't Forget Your Own Tag
  12. Having your name, address, and phone number on your own tag can help airport staff to get your luggage back to you in the event that the airline's tag gets torn off or damaged. It's also a good idea to put your contact information somewhere inside your bags. Airlines do not normally open passengers' luggage, but they will do so if they have no other way to find the owner. Some travelers will place business cards or a duplicate driver license inside. Place a copy of your itinerary in your luggage.

  13. Stand Out From The Crowd
  14. When it comes to lost luggage, the worst-case scenario is the bag with no identification that also looks like every other bag. Choose a suitcase with a distinctive pattern or a bright color. This will also make it less likely that other passengers will mistake your bag for theirs when picking it up and easier for airline employees to find yours in a sea of black and brown.

  15. Remove Old Tags
  16. A lot of people put their luggage away when getting home without removing old tags. It's important to remove those tags to make sure they don't cause any problems.

  17. Upgrade Your Luggage
  18. Are you looking to buy new luggage? A lot of luggage has cool built in features, like battery charging. But some even have special features that allow you to use your phone to locate your luggage. You can even purchase these devices for your existing luggage for a small cost.

  19. Ship It
  20. It may sound counterintuitive, but shipping your luggage can be easier than flying with and might be less expensive, especially if it's overweight. A 100 pound checked bag may cost $200 or more to take on a flight. Shipping it UPS ground, for example, can cost between $150 and $170 to go across the country.