Preparing for travel can be a stressful ordeal. From booking flights and accommodations to packing and making sure everything complies with TSA. However, nothing is worse than arriving at your destination only to find out your luggage has been lost.
With the surge in air travel this summer and staff shortages, there has been an increase in lost and delayed luggage. For example, London’s Heathrow Airport recently experienced a baggage system malfunction resulting in flight cancellations and major backups.
New technology has aided in mishandling luggage over the last 10 years, but post-pandemic times have derailed technological advancements. According to the Department of Transportation’s most recent report, delayed or lost luggage increased to 6 out of 1,000 in February 2022 compared to 5 out of 1,000 in February 2020.
If the thought of losing your luggage after a flight terrifies you, check out these tips.
Pack With Intention
To avoid losing your luggage, it’s important to pack with intention. According to The Department of Transportation, travelers should not avoid valuable, fragile, irreplaceable, or perishable items in checked luggage.
If you’re traveling with fine jewelry, antiques, collectibles, cash, computers, and medications, it’s suggested to put them in your carry-on luggage instead.
Label Your Luggage
A lot of times when waiting at the baggage carousel, luggage ends up looking the same. To ensure your luggage is unique and stands out to you, label the exterior. Writing your initials and phone number is a great way to easily identify your pieces. Bright ribbons, tags, reflective tape, and stickers are also great ways to make your luggage easily identifiable.
You should also have photos of your luggage including the dimensions and brand for your records. Be sure to know your ticket and flight number, as well as your baggage claim check, in case anything does go wrong.
Remove Tags From Previous Trips
If you have tags on your luggage from previous trips, remove them. Also, tuck in any loose straps because they can get tangled with machinery or another bag and get lost.
Don’t Leave The Airport Without Notifying The Airline
If you can’t find your luggage, notify the airline immediately. Stay at the airport until someone files a claim or gives you information on the next steps to locating your lost luggage. Wait times have been long, but stick it out — don’t leave the airport until you have an answer.
Track Your Luggage Virtually
Thanks to technology, you can now track your luggage virtually. There are tracking devices like a Tile or Apple AirTag that you can place inside your luggage to monitor your bag via an app on your phone.
Delta Air Lines, American, United, and more offer luggage tracking on their apps and website. Check to see if the airline you’re flying with does the same.
Know What You’re Entitled To
Did you know that you’re entitled to compensation for lost luggage by airlines? There are rules listed by the Department of Transportation that airlines must abide by. Airlines can pay travelers up to $3,800 per bag. International flights are under different regulations and passengers can receive up to $1,800 per bag lost.
Submit receipts for toiletries, clothing, and other items you had to purchase while your luggage was lost and the airline will compensate you.
It’s important to check with your airline of choice as each airline has its own rules within the government’s policies.
Credit Card And Travel Insurance Protection
Purchasing travel insurance comes in handy for situations like losing luggage. A lot of policies include being compensated for delayed or lost luggage. However, it’s important to read the fine print.
Purchasing your flight with a credit card can work in your favor to be compensated for lost luggage. For example, there are 25 types of Chase credit cards that offer up to $3,000 in lost luggage compensation.
Only Pack A Carry-On
It’s hard to do, but if possible, try to only travel with carry-on luggage. This is a sure way to ensure your luggage isn’t lost by the airline. You’ll have to pack only the essentials, but it brings more peace of mind.