The Ten Commandments for Avoiding and Managing Lost LuggageBack to Forum
- This topic has 70 replies, 29 voices, and was last updated 9 May 2014
at 06:30 by IanFromHKG.
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1. Wherever possible, travel light. The fewer belongings you have with you, the less you might have to replace should the worst happen. This makes sense environmentally, reducing the weight of unnecessary baggage, stops you hurting your back and that of the handlers themselves, and helps airlines keep ticket costs down, burning less fuel.
2. If you can, take hand baggage only. Most trips of three days or less should be able to be accommodated in one carry-on bag.
3. Use expandable luggage; if you do acquire a few items on your trip you can still carry everything back with you in one bag without doubling your chances for lost baggage (and potential extra bag charges!).
4. Ensure you hand baggage is robust enough to be checked if need be. Lockable wheelie bags are ideal for this.
5. Cross pack. If you are a couple travelling with two bags, try and mix your belongings together to ensure if you lose one bag you will both still be able to get by for a few days.
6. Label your bag properly, inside and out and ensure it’s distinctive enough not to be confused by others at the baggage belt . Include name, flight details (including inbound and outbound flight number, routes and dates) contact information (email, mobile phone) and postcode, but not address as this could be a security risk. Double check the agent tagged your bag, and ensure the destination is the one where you expect to have to collect your bag from the belt especially if on a connecting itinerary.
7. Protect clothes by wrapping them in plastic bags – this stops any seepage from other neighbouring bags in the hold and ensures no inclement weather gets inside your bag. Putting layers of plastic also reduces crumpling and gives you something to put your dirty washing in whilst away.
8. Always carry valuables/medicine/irreplaceable sentimental items with you in your hand baggage.
9. If checking bags, take a day of supplies with you in your hand baggage; a basic change of clothes, essential toiletries and travel documents/money, as well as contact details of your insurer.
10. Have good insurance. Travel insurance is popular in Europe, less so in other countries. Many household policies and certain credit cards have excellent travel delay and missing bags insurance, and the knowledge of this can turn a traumatic incident into a therapeutic retail experience!
Marking your luggage! Learned this the hard way last summer – I have a bright blue monster bag that I use for long European trips. Bright blue is the important phrase here. Another BA passenger on my flight from Roma had the same bag. My bag is festooned with tags and other interesting stuff. But … she was chatting with her brother, father, etc and saw “her” bag come out, her brother leaped to pick it up for her and off they went … with my bag of course.
She was sleeping in London and I was overnighting at a Heathrow hotel. Because I had my hotel name and phone number on the bag, she was able to call me in just a couple of hours and then sent my bag back out to LHR with a courier. Always put your contact info for each destination that requires a plane ride – I make up labels before I leave home and dutifully apply them every time I check a bag.
Now I’m also going to paint a big letter on both sides of my bag. Our bags didn’t look exactly identical, but she was busy chatting when her brother picked mine up, an easy mistake. If there’s anything a woman hates, it’s being without her “stuff”!!
Another good one Judynagy!! More appropriate for women is to have brightly coloured hand baggage. It is easily identified going through x- ray, less likely to be stolen. Also on the subject of x- ray, let one of your party go first, with little baggage. Therefore you have people both sides of the machine. Always put a mobile number or email adress inside your baggage, never a home address. Always have a tiny emergency toiletries and clothing pack in your hand luggage. This is good for the flight also. Off the point, but important, carry an old prescription note in your purse, that way, it is easier to obtain prescriptions if medication goes missing. Kind Regards.
Good advice on the extra clothing, Carrotcake … on that same trip to Roma my bag was lost for 3 days … I am 6′ tall with basketball player legs and linebaker shoulders … difficult to find women’s clothing in Europe … maybe impossible, I’ve never tried … but I had a complete outfit, including shoes and was fine for 3 days of sightseeing while “they” were finding my luggage. My dear husband spent a fortune on two new outfits and I smugly just waited for my big bag.
An excellent post but it does highlight an issue that does need to be resolved. Passengers being able to collect the wrong bag off the belt and being able to pass this through customs and security. Some years ago, LAX ran a pilot scheme where bags and their carriers were checked on leaving the arrivals hall after collection of the bags, but before leaving the aiport. With all this technolgy being introduced surely a system can be put in place to so that accidents of this nature can be avoided.
Probably worth bumping this in light of recent events.
It is certainly worth travelling with hand luggage only (where possible) to ensure you can simply walk away if your flight gets cancelled, even after you have boarded..
I agree VK, perhaps this thread should be re-visited.
A couple of points from my perspective. I usually wrap my bags in plastic to protect them from damage/pilfering and find it best to do this off airport if possible as it’s half the price. Many car rental and off airport parking now offer this service.
If you have any status with the airline, or are flying premium, insist the check-in personnel put on the priority handling tags. They sometimes forget to do this and need “gently” reminding.
Miles and More and Virgin have baggage tags with just your name and membership number. These are very handy, quite solid (I’ve only lost one) and do not give away your address. The Senator ones are in a red leather pouch and when I called for some extra they sent me 4 without any problem at all.
Finally, if traveling with family and checking in together, make sure someone notes which baggage tag applies to which piece of luggage. This is invaluable if you should lose two pieces. We name our bags “big red”, small red”, “big yellow” etc so it’s usually just a mater of writing “BR” or whichever on the receipt.
MartynSinclair hits on a valid point. Why hasn’t technology evolved in baggage handling?
If new luggage was brought to market which incorporated RFID (Radio Frequency ID) technology then it would be possible to have a central register of who owns which bag.
Then, when checking-in, all that needs to happen is a database gets updated linking the passenger, the route they’re travelling and the luggage (if RFID chipped). It could even link the loyalty programme (such as miles and more) and the passport number.
The possibility of someone walking away with someone else’s luggage would be virtually zero, especially if one had to pass through a scanner on entrance into customs. It could soon be flagged if a case was moving through the RFID scanner alongside a person who was not ‘tagged’ to that bag.
Whilst that’s just an abstract concept, it never ceases to amaze me that we have such an antiquated way of routing luggage. That is, barcodes on bits of sticky paper! Surely we can do better and as I understand it, RFID is now a mature technology and relatively cheap.
If mobile phones can have an IMEI number which is unique to them and cannot be easily changed, which is linked to a SIM card and the owner, then why not the same with luggage?
For now, my method is to use a thick permanent marker to write my mobile number onto the base of each case (including the international code of course). I’m more concerned with keeping my bags close or getting them to me quickly, than I am with the cosmetics of it. As a frequent traveller, it’s proved its worth many times over the years and cannot get pulled off like a tag.
Kalicouk, this (apart from the passport data and the scanner match on collection) is what Qantas is now introducing in Australia.
Having viewed the Qantas presentation, it made me wonder why Oneworld doesnt pool resources and develop this as a JV with other Oneworld members. It looks superb and feels very “next generation”. Well done Qantas, I wonder when this will breach the boundaries of Australia.
I liked the presentation, but apart from the clever electronic bag tags I didn’t see much that was different from the current iPhone app from BA, or bmi/Lufthansa’s SMS boarding pass, the latter of which has been around (and is useable internationally) for almost two years now.
One glaring difference is that not everybody wants or uses an iPhone or SMS boarding pass. The issue with the SMS boarding pass, is that if its not on your phone and ‘alive’ at the precise moment, it gets fiddly just as you are at the front of the Q. The 2 systems are like chalk and cheese.