Getting off your plane only to stand at a baggage carousel waiting for luggage that doesn’t show is no way to start a vacation or any kind of trip. According, to the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2012, for every 1,000 passengers there were 3.09 mishandled bags. While, there’s not much you can do to completely prevent lost luggage there are steps you can take to reduce the risk.
- Travel light. Avoid checking bags if you can. Instead, travel light and carry on your luggage. It can be more of a hassle to have to lug your bags around the airport, but you will avoid waiting at the baggage carousel altogether. Plus, many carriers are now charging baggage handling fees, so you’ll save some money in the process.
- Pack smart. Don’t pack any items you absolutely must have in the next 24 hours. Pack these items, such as medications, along with valuables, irreplaceable items, jewelry, cash and electronics, in your carry-on.
- Make your bags easy to identify. Buy easily identifiable bags or add a ribbon or sticker to existing suitcases. Make sure the information on your luggage tags is current, and add a luggage tag inside your bag in case the one on the outside falls off. Take a photograph of the bag with your phone before you check in, so you can show the airline exactly what it looks like if it gets lost.
- Check in early. Get to the airport early and check in as soon as you can. Better yet, check in online before you leave the house. Checking in early gives airline employees the time to process your luggage and make sure it gets loaded on the plane.
- Avoid connecting flights. Take a direct flight if possible. There’s less of a chance your luggage will get lost if you’re only on one plane. If you have to take multiple flights, avoid ones with short layovers. As with checking in early, a longer layover gives employees more time to handle your luggage.
If you packed smart, made your bags identifiable, checked in early and avoided connecting flights but are still left standing at an empty baggage carousel with no bags, notify the airline of your missing luggage right away. Also, to help ease the pain of lost luggage our friends at ParkSleepFly.com have compiled a comprehensive list of lost and found luggage details for major airports in the United States. If you are unfortunate enough to lose your luggage or other possessions at the airport refer to this list of airport lost & found contact details and you’ll never get lost wandering through an unfamiliar airport looking for your lost bags.