Sunday, 13 May 2012

How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage at the Airport

Strong travel bag for check-in

Travelling can become a nightmare and holiday can be shattered if a luggage gets lost. It has happened to many travellers in the past and it can happen to you. But there are steps you can take to prevent your luggage from getting lost or stolen to make your travel experience more secure and less of a hassle. This article highlights some great tips for a safer and more secure travel when it comes to your luggage.

Carry it on

The best thing you can do to prevent your luggage from being mishandled, stolen or getting lost is to carry it with you on board. Be selective with what you pack and carry the bag with you to the plane. Not
checking in any bags is a great way to avoid all the problems that come with lost luggage. However be careful because most airlines only allow one standard carry-on luggage. Remember that you may not be compensated if your luggage is lost. So avoid checking in your luggage as much as possible. I know that it can sometimes be very difficult with all the restrictions at the airports, but this remain the best way to keep your luggage safe.

Check in Early

The reason why many bags could not travel with their owner on many occasions is because they arrived late to the baggage hall for screening and loading. Luggage that are left behind are prone to mishandling and theft. So if you must check in your luggage, make sure that you arrive early enough to check in for your flight so that your bag will not be left behind. If you are late and running to your gate, there is a good chance that although you might make the flight, but your luggage might not. 

Label Your Luggage

Puting label on Luggage
Image: Stuart Miles /
Before you check in your bags put a visible label on it. Make sure you have tags with your name on the outside of the bag. On the outside pocket, print out a copy of your travel itinerary and put it inside. This will be helpful in identifying your lost luggage if the identity tag outside the bag falls off. As a matter of fact, it is the outside pocket that baggage handlers will check first when searching for the identity of any bags. You can also label your bags inside; this will help you to reclaim your lost luggage easily if your bag is found without any identity outside of it. 

Tear off Old Tags

Before checking in your luggage, tear off any old tags another airline may have put on it from previous flights. These might cause confusion to the baggage handlers. Also, double check to be sure that the new tag being attached has the correct destination code before they are sent away on the conveyor belt. Tearing off old tags helps a lot in avoiding lost luggage.

Use Approved Locks on Your Luggage

Remember that your bags are subject to inspection by airport security officers and if they can’t understand some of the contents of your bags through x-ray machine, they have the right to open your bags in your absence. So make their job easy by using approved locks on your luggage. Approved locks are easier for them to open and to re-lock. But if you use regular lock, your luggage may be delayed if they need to cut the key to inspect the content.

Take a Picture of Your Bags

Take a picture of your bag as well as the items inside it and store it in your phone or in your digital camera. This is particularly helpful if your bag is missing and you need to report or make an insurance claim; the picture will worth more than a thousand descriptions.

Forward Your Bags to Your Destination

Forwarding your luggage ahead to your destination, with services like FedEx, DHL, Luggage Concierge or Virtual Bellhop is a great way to prevent your luggage from lost. It can cost £35 a bag or more depending on the weight, but it saves you the hassles of lost luggage. At the airport you will not need to check in any luggage, thus there is no need to queue for checking in any luggage, or waiting for it upon arrival.

Don’t Check in Broken Bags

Broken or torn bags have greater chance of getting stock in the conveyor belt. When this happens the content might get lost or mixed up with other broken bags. If your bag has a broken wheels, handles or straps then avoid checking them in. Holiday travel should not be a time to chase lost luggage so use good quality bag to check in your items.

Don’t Check in Valuable Items

Don’t pack your valuables or precious items like jewellery, electronics gadgets or cash in checked in luggage because if the bag is lost the items won’t be compensated for. My advice for any holiday travellers is that you do not check in any items that you cannot loose.

Claim Your Bags on Time

On arrival, get to the baggage claim carousel belt on time to claim your bag. The longer your bag stays on the belt the greater the chance of it being taking away by unknown person. Also, be sure that you are not picking the wrong bag; check the tag before leaving. 

Bag Image: Stuart Miles /

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