Limiting connections, watching your bags, and removing old tags are steps that will help
If you've ever lost a bag when flying, you know how frustrating it is trying to get it back. It is particularly irritating because there is so little that you can do yourself to find the luggage. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take beforehand to make it less likely that your bag will get lost and more likely that it will find its way back if it does.
- Fly direct
- Watch your luggage being checked in
- Apply your tags carefully
- Tuck in any parts sticking out
- Use your own tag
- Stick out from the crowd
- Take extra time
- Remove old tags
Connecting flights are one of the major causes of lost luggage. Direct flights, though not always possible, make it less likely that your bags will go somewhere you aren't.
Airline agents are often stressed and in a hurry, especially during peak travel times. It is rare, but sometimes they accidentally put the wrong tag on passengers' luggage. When you check in, watch your bags and make sure the tag matches your destination.
Self-check-in kiosks often allow passengers to print their own bag tags. If you use this service, make sure you follow the directions and apply your tags with care. Make sure that both the bar code and the city code are visible.
Protruding bag parts like shoulder straps can get hung up on conveyor belt systems. Take care that any such parts of your luggage are tucked in.
Having your name, address, and phone number on your own external 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.
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.
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.
Did you take your bags on a previous flight? If so, take off any airline tags from that flight so they won't be confused with today's.
Source: The New York Times: "Tips to Keep Your Bag From Taking a Trip Without You"