The Only Surefire Way Not to Lose a Bag

Airline passengers complain about lost bags but the reality is, lost luggage is rare: the percentage of mishandled baggage is very low and something like less than 2% of those lost bags are truly lost for good*. Yet innovations to prevent such travel headaches and allow passengers greater control over bags keep making news. Here’s the latest – plus a personal lost bag story – and how not to lose your stuff ever.

Listen to air travel expert Rick Seaney discuss a truly epic bag fail:

What to do if your bag is lost

Airline Self-Bag Tagging

Spain’s Iberia Airlines has just begun allowing passengers on domestic flights to download and print out baggage tags at home which will save time at the airport – just hand your baggage to a counter attendant – plus you will know the bag is correctly tagged for the proper destination  (assuming you look at the tag before placing it on the suitcase).

GPS Bag Monitoring

As FareCompare reported earlier, the still-in-testing-phase Bag2Go suitcase includes “bar codes for you (and the airport) to scan, an RFID chip built into the bag for identification purposes and to link it to airport/airline bag tracking systems plus GPS so you know where the bag is during every step of its journey.” Sure, it’s conceivable the bag could still get lost but, hey, at least you’ll know where it is!

Personal Lost Bag Story

Yours truly flew to Europe earlier this month en famille with three checked-bags. Upon arrival, only one of those suitcases surfaced on the baggage carousel. We had not self-tagged nor did we have GPS monitoring but truthfully, we did not care where the bags were. Our only concern was they did not take the same trip we did. As it turned out, the bags apparently grew tired of traveling and decided to relax with a nice long layover in Chicago before continuing on to the continent. As noted earlier, the luggage was not gone forever – the two missing bags rejoined our travel party about 30 hours later – but by then, we’d had to shell out a few euros on a variety of toiletries and T-shirts (and we will provide updates on our efforts at reimbursement for those interested).

One bright spot: At least there were no baggage fees as there are on most domestic flights.

7 weird things lost and found at airports

How Not to Lose a Bag

As usual, air travel expert Rick Seaney has the answer to the nagging question of lost bags: Always use a carry-on. Always. Yes, he uses a carry-on bag even for personal trips overseas (he packs like a pro and has plenty of room for what he needs) so Rick does not worry about lost bags. Ever. Yours truly will try this next time.

*If your bag is believed to be lost for good, check the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama – they just might have it (plus it’s a fun shopping experience).

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Published: July 15, 2013