If it has ever happened to you, then you know the frustration of not having your personal belongings with you as you start a vacation or after returning home. Have you ever wondered why your luggage gets lost in the first place? Is there anything you could have done to prevent the airline from losing your luggage? I’ve put together this post to uncover the top reasons your luggage may get lost in the shuffle.
Reasons Airlines Lose your Luggage
1. The Luggage Routing Label is Damaged or Torn Off
After you have checked in the agent will attach a luggage tag with a barcode on your bag’s handle and then send your bag down a conveyer belt. You will get a sticker with a matching code which you hope you will never have to use. If that tag on your bag becomes damaged or worse yet ripped off your suitcase before it reaches the luggage distribution hub, then likely it will get misplaced. Without the tag, there is no way the attendants will know where the bag should be heading.
2. Wrong Destination Code Written on the Tag
Human error is the cause of this luggage mishap. When you check in your luggage, the agent may accidentally punch in the wrong destination code. USL vs USH is the difference in your luggage going to Australia or Argentina. Once it gets the wrong destination code, you are at the mercy of the destination airport’s crew to be able to identify your bag and send it where it is supposed to go.
3. Luggage Placed on the Wrong Baggage Cart
If the luggage handler directly put your suitcase on the wrong cart, your bag will end up on the wrong plane. Again upon arrival at the wrong airport, your unclaimed luggage is taken to a holding area and is at the mercy of the staff to find it and send it to the correct destination.
How to Speed Up Luggage Recovery and Avoid Losing Your Suitcases Completely
Most the reasons your luggage may get lost or not make its destination are not yours. You probably can’t prevent human or airline error, but you can take measures to ensure your luggage is found and returned to you quickly.
1. Label Your Bags
It amazes me how many people send their luggage off without any identification tags whatsoever. Luggage tags and labels are the most critical thing you can do. If the airline’s baggage tags are damaged or torn off the only way to identify your bag (other than how it looks) is the personal luggage tag you apply to it. Imagine a holding area with thousands of lost bags. Now imagine the airline employee trying to find your bag without an identification tag. How fast do you think your luggage will come back to you?
2. Decorate Your Bag – Choose Luggage that is Easy to Identify
If you don’t purchase a colourful bag consider dressing it up with tags, covers and straps. Most people have the same looking luggage in ordinary black, grey or red. But again, imagine that room filled with bags. Have a bag that easily stands out from the rest which makes it easier to get it back quickly.
- Add a bright ribbon or some tape to your suitcase.
- Decorate it with stickers.
- Buy a decorative cover.
- Use easy identifiable luggage straps and tags.
Any details you can describe in your baggage claim to make the bored airport worker in the holding area find your bag with little effort will get your bag back to you faster.
3. Check-in Early
If you check in too close to your flight’s take off time chances are pretty good your luggage won’t make it on the plane. Be sure to check in earlier and make sure you leave time when planning trips with connecting flights. They will not stop the plane waiting for you or your bags.
You may not be able to prevent the reason the airline lost your luggage in the first place, but you may be able to get it back faster if you take some steps to make your bags easy to identify.