It’s every traveler’s worst nightmare: having your luggage go missing. Unfortunately, it does happen. And when you consider how many different bags are checked at airports every day, it’s actually pretty surprising it doesn’t happen more often.
Shy of not checking your bags and simply packing a carry-on (which isn’t always possible), there’s no way to guarantee that your luggage will never be misplaced. The good news, however, is that there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce the risk.
Choose A Direct Flight When Possible
A lot of times, luggage goes missing when a connecting flight has a short layover. In these instances, the airport crew may simply not have time to get luggage transported from one plane to the next, especially if there has been a delay for any reason. This is where it can be helpful to book direct flights without layovers whenever possible. The fewer stops your plane has to make (and the fewer plane changes), the less your luggage needs to be moved around and the less likely it is to be misplaced.
Make Sure Your Luggage Stands Out
Sometimes, luggage will make it safely all the way to the baggage carousel before going missing. This most often happens when bags look too much alike, and an unsuspecting traveler accidentally grabs the wrong bag in a hurry.
Taking steps to help your bag stand out from others on the luggage carousel can go a long way in avoiding this common problem. Choose bright-colored bags or luggage with distinguishable patterns. Or, if you already have a plain/neutral-colored bag, consider adding a colorful ribbon or other unique markings to help yours stand out.
And of course, always make sure you attach a luggage tag to all your checked bags. This tag should include your name and a reliable method of contact, whether it be cellphone or email address.
Check In For Your Flight With Time To Spare
If you have bags to check before your flight, make sure you check in as early as possible. This will give the airport workers plenty of time to get your bags where they need to go before your plane takes off. Generally, your luggage should have time to get to the plane as long as you check in at least a half hour before your flight, but the earlier the better. Many airlines will allow passengers to check in for their flights several hours before takeoff.
Consider A Smart Luggage Tag
Did you know you can actually purchase luggage tags that have built-in microchips? These unique and innovative tags allow you to track your bags using an app on your smartphone. This can be a great way to see where your luggage is in real-time, giving you added peace of mind as you travel. And of course, if your bag does go missing, you can easily find out where it is.
Consider Shipping Your Bags
If you have anything especially valuable that you need to bring with you, consider shipping your bags through a reputable service instead of checking them at the airport. This is a more common practice than you may think!
If Your Luggage Does Go Missing…
Hopefully, you will never be in a situation where your luggage goes missing. If this does happen to you, though, there are some things to keep in mind. For starters, any time you travel, it’s a good idea to have some form of travel insurance in place that will cover lost or damaged baggage. This way, you can receive the funds you need to pick up some essentials when you arrive at your destination.
If any of your luggage goes missing, make sure to report it to the airport’s lost and found office immediately. These offices are usually located near the baggage claim carousels. Here, you can provide some information on what your luggage looks like, as well as your contact information. If your luggage is found by the airline, they can get in touch with you and make sure your bags make their way to where you are.
Having your luggage go missing can be a huge hassle, but there are steps you can take to make this misfortune less likely to befall you. From there, you and your baggage can arrive safely at your destination!