Don't Lose your Bag

By: maxine greco

With more and more people traveling, the airlines are handling more and more bags. With the new regulations, allowing you two bags of 50 lbs. each instead of one large one, they are also handling more lightweight luggage than every before. According to the newspapers, baggage losses are increasing. What are the steps you can take to insure your bags arrive at your chosen destination? These steps are easy to follow and are mostly common sense. First, remove all of the old tags. You may like looking like a world traveler, but your bar code on the bags should be only for the current destination. Arrive at the airport early enough for your luggage to be loaded onto your plane. One hour is the estimate for domestic flights and two hours for international flights. During especially busy times, increase these times by at least 30 to 60 minutes.

Be sure to identify your luggage. Use bright colored luggage tags and use two to a bag. Put one on the top handle and one on the side handle. This way, another passenger won't pick it up accidentally. Put your name and address and telephone number inside each bag as well as your destination address and phone number. Use only TSA baggage locks so airport security personnel can easily open the bag.

The locks are also available in bright colors to coordinate or contrast with your color scheme. Monogrammed luggage is easily identifiable and very unlikely to be picked up accidentally. If you have nondescript luggage, use handle wraps or bright colored luggage straps to give it an identifiable personality that says, "it is your bag." If you use the handle wraps, again use two per bag. Put one the top handle and one on the side carry handle. A ribbon or piece of colored string alone can easily fall off. Use the travel accessories designed for the purpose of identifying your bag. These are more permanent.

Always wait until your luggage is ticketed before walking away at the airline counter. Be sure to remove straps and piggyback loops before sending your baggage through at the terminal. You don't want to leave parts hanging that will catch on the conveyer belt or other machinery. This could hold up or damage luggage. Also, make sure your luggage is in good shape and can withstand the rigors of travel. A damaged bag will be held up and may not make it onto your plane. Keep a packing list so you can remember what was in each bag. Remember to also keep all of your valuables in your carryon bag. An extra pair of glasses or any medications you need should also be kept with you. A change of clothing is helpful in case your bag is temporarily delayed. Small packing cubes are convenient to be packed with a few necessities should baggage be delayed. These packing cubes are popular corporate gifts and can have a company name or logo silk-screened or embroidered on them. They are very practical for travelers as they fit easily into carryon bags.

After taking all of the precautions, should your discount luggage still go astray, be sure to make a claim with the airline immediately. Do it before you leave the airport terminal. There is an office or claim area located near the luggage carousel. Be sure to get a telephone number where you can follow up the airline claim. Get the representative's name and the have the claim form filled out. Make sure you get a copy of the form and that the information is correct. Give them your local number and cell phone number. Hopefully, your misplaced luggage will arrive on your doorstep by early the next morning.

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