Friday 27 March 2015

How to avoid (or survive) lost luggage

Millions of bags fail to arrive at their destination each year, some of the reasons being: airline budget cuts, airport congestion, tight connection times, increased transfers among airlines and security. In defense of airlines, most bags are not actually lost forever, only delayed. But, even a few days without your luggage is enough to cause you a lot of stress!

If you are a traveler, you should take the following steps to keep this from happening to your bag…

- Use a sturdy ID tag with a durable strap on each bag. The best tags have a cover hiding your name to protect your privacy (use your business information if possible.) use your cellphone number and email address so you can be contacted immediately.

- Include your identification information inside the bag. This is especially important if the outside tag is lost during your travels. Place a travel itinerary in an outside pocket or inside on the top, so that airlines can track you in transit if your bag is delayed or misrouted.

- Mark your luggage in distinctive ways to spot your black bag in the sea of black bags. Tie bright ribbons or straps onto the handles; apply stickers or your initials in large, coloured stick-on letters on all sides. Take a photo of your bag, so that if your bag should be misplaced, you can show the photo to the baggage agent.

- Remove any old baggage claim tags from your luggage as they can cause confusion.

- Check your bags as early as possible. Airlines suggest at least 90 minutes in advance (two hours for international travel) but at daily high-traffic times and with seasonal crowding you can add 30 minutes to this time. Last-minute checked bags simply may not make it through security screening and onto your plane.

- Make sure that your bags have been ticketed to the correct destination and on the correct flight numbers before you leave the luggage check-in area or ticket counter.

- Always carry medicines and anything that is valuable or not easily replaceable (including your keys) on your person or in a small carry-on bag. If it would break your heart to lose it, either keep it with you or leave it at home.

- Travel in clothing you can wear for a day or two in case your bags are delayed. Tuck a change of underwear into your carry-on bag plus a clean shirt so you have an item to wear and one to wash. Pack a swimsuit or shorts in your carry-on if you’re headed to a sunny location.

- Complete lost-luggage reports at the airport and don’t leave without a claim number and contact information so you can check the status of missing bags if one is missing in action. Keep baggage claim tags, tickers and receipts for your purchases, so the airline will be able to research your claim and reimburse you quicker.

- Always create a packing list that includes every item in each packed bag and leave a copy at home to retain an accurate record. Most travelers undervalue the content of a lost bag because they can’t remember anything that was inside. Take a second copy of the packing list with you to check each time you unpack and repack to prevent forgetting items in the rush.

Make sure you are a smart traveler and plan ahead so that your memories of your vacation or business trip not of a travel disaster.

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Written By: Christine Romans

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