Losing baggage is not a rare occurrence at an airport. On a typical day at the airport, you are sure to find at least one person watching an empty conveyer belt for his or her bag, wondering when it would come out. And slowly, the conveyer belt halts. Most likely, this person has lost his or her baggage.
According to the US Department of Tourism, in the first nine months of 2007 alone 3.45 million people reportedly lost their baggage. Now, think about how many bags that would be every year. And that’s just in the US alone. SITA, the IT service that tracks baggage information for airlines in 220 countries and territories, states that about 30 million bags are lost each year for almost every two billion people who go through airports. That’s a very high statistic. Lost baggage costs the air transport industry about $2.5 billion annually.
Many causes exist for losing baggage. More and more people fly every year and that increase, coupled with tightening security measures, and tight turnaround times, there is no doubt that it gets harder and harder for bags to make their way safely to their owners after a flight.
Even travelers with a lot of experience dread losing their baggage. The fear of losing baggage provokes people to avoid checking in any luggage, and they try to fit everything into their carry-on luggage. If they bring goods home from their trip, they opt to ship them separately. You do not really have to resort to such measures. Here are a few tips to help you keep your checked-in baggage safe.
First of all, getting to your flight early is a must. The more time the airline has to load your baggage, the better. Checking in at the last minute may mean that your bag won’t have time to be loaded into the plane. You may end up losing your baggage in the process. And if your flight requires moving to another plane, book your transfer flight to give your baggage ample time to be transferred. Staying with the same carrier may help.
Next, when you check your baggage, make sure that the agent puts a destination tag on your bags and gives you a claim check. Don’t forget to remove tags from your old trips to avoid confusion. Also make sure that the destination tags on your bags have the correct three-letter codes for your destination airports.
Speaking of tags, putting a distinctive tag or ribbon on your bag also helps. The more your bag stands out, the better, as it will help you identify it after your flight. It would also deter people who may run off with your bag. Don’t forget to label your luggage with your information as well, including your name and mobile number. To be more secure, you can use your business address instead of your home address. And be sure to also label the inside of your bag, as well as outside, in case the outside tag goes missing. If in case you do lose your baggage while in transit, then this information will help whoever finds it to return it to you. Putting locks on your baggage just in case someone tries to open it is also useful.
Now, if you are carrying very important items during your travel, like medications and family heirlooms or even your business suit if you are traveling for business, put these items in your carry-on luggage. In case you end up losing your baggage or someone takes it, you won’t be left helpless as you wait.
Finally, there are companies that offer travel insurance. Applying for it is useful, especially if your trip is very important. In case you lose your baggage, you may be reimbursed. Travel insurance can also cover many other things like travel visas, delayed baggage and other important documents or items that you carry with you.
Therefore, the next time you fly, keep these ideas in mind to avoid losing your baggage and relieving some stress during your trip. Happy flying!