6 Must-Do Tips to Avoid Loss of Your Baggage

Lost luggages keep piling up most especially during the holiday season

I am lucky to be spared with these stressful situation on most of my travels. No, I was not totally spared as there was one incident on my trip from Toronto to Hamburg where we had to stop and change flight with a domestic aircraft in Frankfurt bound for Hamburg.

And guess what happened when we arrived at the Hamburg Airport. Yes, your guess is as good as mine. One of our checked in baggages was lost.
Photo Credit : Twenty20

Our host did not waste time and called the airline, Lufthansa if I remember it right. The lost and found section of the airline was not much of a problem. The night after, our luggages were delivered right to our door. A bad experience that turned to a good impression of the airline.

I therefore would give you some tips to keep your checked baggages safe until you reach your destination. I do not want you to line up beside the baggage conveyor and after waiting so long, you will be asking...

"Where are my bags?"

It's a question more and more travellers are asking as they wait for their checked in luggages rolling on a carousel. The number of delayed, lost or mishandled baggage has doubled in the past years, so I read.

It's a woe felt by travellers across the world and the luggage mishaps cost the air transport industry a huge amount annually.

The worsening problem are thought to be caused by increased airport congestion and security regulations, tight turnaround times and spiralling passenger numbers, all of which cause delays and complicate handling procedures.

Avoid baggage blues

The prospect of lost luggage fills even the most seasoned traveller with dread. Most of us know the feeling all too well; you're waiting and waiting at the baggage carousel when the steady flow of bags onto the conveyor belt begins to slow – and then finally stops altogether. Your bags are nowhere to be seen.

Some travellers are so fearful of losing their luggage that they resort to such drastic measures as refusing to check any bags at all, opting to make do with what will fit in a carry-on bag or shipping possessions separately. But if you're not prepared to go that far, here are 6 tips to help keep your checked luggage safe.

1. Arrive at the airport early

If you check in at the last moment, you may be able to make the flight, but your bags may not. The more time the airline has to get your bag onto the plane, the more likely it will actually arrive at your destination. If you're changing plans, try to book flights that allow ample time for baggage transfer. Staying on the same carrier can also help.

2. Make sure you  count the claim stubs for each bag you checked in

Also verify that the agent checking your bags attaches a destination tag to each bag. To avoid confusion, remove old tags from previous trips. Finally, check to see that these tags show the correct three-letter code for your destination airport.

3. Use colourful tags, labels or straps for easy spotting

Many bags look alike, so a distinctive marking or colours will help you identify your bag better – this could also deter would-be thieves.

4. Label your baggage with your name and contact information, including cell phone number

For security reasons, it's a good idea to use your business address instead of your home address. Remember to include labels on both the outside and inside of your luggage. That way, if your external tag is removed, you still have the inside tag.

5. Pack important items such as medication, keys, eye glasses and laptops in carry on luggage.

Other items which should not be checked include small valuables such as cash, credit cards, jewelry, cameras or irreplaceable items such as family heirlooms. These should all be in your hand carry bag.

6. Put a strap on each of your luggages

Using straps on all your luggages make it easier for you to identify them even while at the baggage carousel. More often, suitcases are identical and using a colourful strap will make your bags different from the rest. I make it a point that all four of my checked-in luggages are strapped in attractive red belts especially on long-haul flights. 

If your luggage is lost

If your airline loses your bags and did not arrive with you at your destination, you need to report it immediately to an agent of your carrier right within the airport. The agent should provide you the following:
  • a delayed baggage card explaining the process of baggage recovery
  • a Reference Number that you will use in checking the status of your luggage online
In the event that your luggages cannot be found, complaints for lost bags should be filed in writing within 21 days from the date of arrival. If you fail to do so, the airline will have no obligation for the loss and compensation will not be granted.

Finally, since airlines offer limited liability for lost or damaged baggage, you may want to consider travel insurance to make sure your possessions are fully covered. Baggage and personal effects insurance may provide reimbursements for lost or damaged luggage and personal items.

In the case of delayed baggage, insurance may also compensate for some of the costs of purchasing necessary toiletries and clothing. It may also help cover the replacement costs of passports, driver's licenses, birth certificates or travel visas in the event any one of these is lost or stolen.

Keep a detailed list of what you packed in your baggage to avoid unnecessary claim delays.

Good luck and have a safe travel!

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send a message @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail(dot)com.

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