Working for an airline has its advantages. One of the best perks is obviously free flights, but another is getting to see the mistakes passengers make and being able to pass on that information. As an airline employee I have learned a few insider tips that I want you to benefit from, so here are 5 insider tips to make your travel experiences better!

  1. Have ample connecting time.

Why is this an insider tip? My job as a ramp agent is to take your connecting bag to your next flight. If some agents (not me, of course) see that you only have 10 or 15 minutes to get to your next plane they may not feel like hustling to get your bag to your next flight. I know, I know, it’s not the right attitude, but I’m telling you the truth. Many agents will simply find the next flight for your destination and put your bag in that bin. It’s done all the time, so if at all possible give yourself plenty of time between flights. At least an hour and a half.

  1. Don’t carry a black checked bag.

One night we experienced really bad weather and flights were canceled left and right. People had to stay in Charlotte (where I work) unexpectedly and they wanted their bags. “Sure,” I thought to myself. “That’s no problem.” Oh wait, there is a problem because now it is the job of 1 (maybe 2) agents to try and find your black bag in the sea of hundreds of black bags. This obviously is not going to happen. Eventually someone may find your bag, but trust me it won’t be quick and they will take their sweet time. Again, I know it’s the wrong attitude but many employees won’t even bother looking for a black bag because it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. If you have a colored or a bag with a design it makes it so much easier. Think about it: If you tell me, “My bag is black.” or you say, “My bag is green polka dots with a red handle.” Which one do you think I’m going to look for first?

  1. Put your contact information inside your suitcase.

This is very important. When bags get lost or left behind (people simply walk off and forget to pick up their bags — go figure) the airline needs to be able to get in touch with you. Yes, you may have a bag tag, but those fall off often and then an agent is forced to open your bag to try and find some way of getting in touch with you. Make it easier for them. Also, the agent has to often open your bag to describe the contents inside to make sure they match what you have said.  If you have something with your pertinent contact information you will be contacted sooner than other people and the agents will know for sure the bag belongs to you.

  1. Do not check electronics, cords, or any valuables.

As airline employees we do not go through security when we arrive or leave work. Many of us carry backpacks because we have lockers, so if an employee has sticky fingers there is nothing you can do about it. I’ve seen videos of people that think they have come up with fool-proof ways to stop theft in their bag. Please don’t believe those. There is ample time to search through bags if someone is devious and/or likes to steal. If I was that type of person (which I’m not) I could open as many bags as I want, search around and take things that looked interesting. If you are going to pack valuables please don’t make it easy. I once saw a credit card on the side pocket of a checked bag! 

  1. Do not pack prescription medication in your baggage.

People do this all. Of. The. Time. Please do not be one of them. I had a passenger ask me to go into her checked bag and get her medicine because “she had to take it.” I will tell you firsthand, there is no way any airline employee is going to open your bag and get your medicine; it’s something we can get fired for. Keep any and all medication, cpap machines, and anything you need to help you stay alive on your person. Period. If you need them during your flight you will not have access to them if they are in your checked bag. If it’s absolutely necessary to get your medication, your bag will be taken to baggage claim and then you will have to go through security once again, and you don’t want to do that now do you?
So there you have it! Hopefully these 5 insider tips have helped you!