Every time I go to claim my luggage at the airport baggage carousel there is always that feeling gnawing at me that my luggage missed the flight. Sometimes watching the bags go round on the carousel is like watching the ball go round on the roulette wheel. Will I be lucky and my bag pops out from the mysterious area below? Or will I be that last person sadly waiting until the empty carousel has stopped to realize that my luggage is lost? Fortunately this has only happened to me twice and my luggage arrived on the next flight.
The 2010 statistics for the nation’s biggest airlines for lost, delayed or damaged luggage for every 1,000 passengers was 2.91, down from 3.51 in 2009.
Here are some helpful steps passengers can take to prevent lost luggage:
- Place identification (name, address, cell phone number) on the outside as well as inside of luggage.
- Luggage looks similar so be creative and customize the outside of it. This will make it easily identifiable by you and also another traveler will not mistake it for theirs.
- Pack all valuables in your carry-on.
- Photograph your luggage and its contents.
- Itinerary placed visibly inside luggage, even if it is just your hotel information, will help the airlines locate you once your luggage is found.
- Avoid checking in at the last minute.
- When checking in at kiosks and depositing the luggage at the counter make sure that the agent attaches the correct destination ticket and keep the claim ticket.
- Avoid tight connections. Fly non-stop whenever possible.
- Keep a packing list with you. If your luggage does get lost, the airline is going to request an itemized list of everything that was in it.
- Be prepared to lose your luggage by packing essential items and a change of clothes in your carry-on.
We never want this to happen, but if your luggage does get lost or damaged, then file a claim immediately. Do not leave the airport until you have done so. These simple tips might keep you from being the last person (not) holding the bag.