7 Tips for Getting Through Baggage Claim Painlessly

Traveling can be exhausting. Even after you’ve survived the check-in, pat-down, and finding a cheap flight, you still have to navigate baggage claim.

What Passengers Are Looking for in Airports

Don’t fret – we have seven tips that will get you in and out of baggage claim before you can say, “Where did I park the car?”

1. Research: If you’re traveling to an airport you’ve never visited, familiarize yourself with the layout, including where the baggage claim area is located. Many in-flight magazines have diagrams of major airports in the back so you don’t have to spend time asking for directions or trying to follow confusing signage.

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2. Listen: Flight attendants will often make an announcement upon arrival about which carousel your bags will be on, so instead of calling friends to let them know you’ve landed, pay attention. Knowing where your bags will be ahead of time will save you having to scan that ever-changing board in baggage claim.

3. Timing: It typically takes 20-30 minutes for checked luggage to make it to the baggage claim area. If you can, skip going to the restroom or buying a snack to claim the best spot at the baggage claim carousel.

4. Location: More than likely, all the passengers will crowd the area around the chute where the bags first come out. Give yourself a little breathing room and some time to identify your bag by positioning yourself a little farther down the carousel.

What To Do When Your Baggage is Lost or Delayed

5. Teamwork: If you’re traveling with a companion, have one person grab the bags off the carousel and hand them to the other person, who is standing a little ways off with the rest of the carry-on baggage. This way, only one of you has to fight the crowd and there’s less chance of being separated.

6. Decorate: Make your luggage stand out in a sea of black suitcases. When shopping for new luggage, look for unusual colors or patterns. If you already own a suitcase, simply tie a brightly colored ribbon to the handle, stick on a unique decal, or bring out your artistic side by painting it.

Checked Luggage and How to Protect It

7. Identification: Most luggage comes with a tag – if not, be sure to add one before the flight. After you’ve claimed your bag, make sure to check the tag to confirm that it’s yours. This will save you from another trip to the airport when you realize you picked up someone else’s bags.

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Published: April 25, 2012