Lost Luggage and why your luggage could go amiss…

Travelling and lost luggage has been on everyone’s minds recently.  Some airports have been worse than others and a few airports placed caps on flights to manage the crisis.  So, people started purchasing air tags and placing them in luggage and trying all sorts of things.  I travelled all through Europe in 2022 and 2023 to various countries on numerous flights from low-cost Ryan Air to major airlines through all sorts of airports and each time my trusty suitcase turned up.

Rule 1: Get to the airport early.

At the start, the baggage handlers were to blame for lost luggage as bags did not make flight connections.  Baggage handlers lost their jobs during COVID-19, so airports suddenly had to find new staff and train them.  Heathrow Airport had a cap on flights so the baggage handlers and the airport staff could cope.  One priority is to get to the airport early to ensure your bag makes the plane.

Rule 2: Allow plenty of time between flight connections and get to the airport early.

Something else I discovered as airfares skyrocketed was that many were tempted to combine airlines and codeshares to get lower-priced airfares.  This was where so many ran into problems.  Often the flights had a tight flight connection so the baggage did not make it. A rule of thumb is that I allow at least 2 hours to be safe or longer.

Rule 3: Check your baggage tickets.

Remember we are dealing with technology now and machines still make mistakes just like us humans.  Airport machines may not pick up a mixed fare.  I had a client travelling premium economy to Asia and then going business class the rest of the way to Europe.  Their bag was only recognizing the first destination.  Always make sure you check your baggage ticket, and this is checked all the way to your destination.  Saying that I did have a mixed-class flight last year and had no problems?

Rule 4: Make sure you put the baggage ticket on the side handle and make sure it is on correctly.

There are so many airport self-check-ins now for international airlines.  A friend who works for an airline, said, ‘’A big reason for so many lost bags is people put the baggage tickets on incorrectly”.  I am the culprit of this myself and have never had a formal lesson on how to put a baggage ticket on a bag.  Recently when were about to travel, my husband was about to put his baggage ticket on the top handle of the suitcase and fortunately, an airport staff said, “No put it on the side handle as this is where the bag is scanned”.  If it is on the top of the bag, it is often not scanned.  There are also two stickers at the bottom of the ticket.  Take off one of the baggage stickers and stick it on the bag in case the ticket on your side handle gets ripped off.

Rule 5: Always remove old baggage tickets.

You must always remove old baggage tickets.  How can the scanners scan your bag correctly if you have two extra tickets from your last two trips?  The first thing I do when I arrive at the airport is rip off the baggage ticket labels and put them in the rubbish.

Rule 6: Always label your bag with your name and address.

I met a few culprits who forgot to put a name tag on their bag or even worse had a name tag on their bag but didn’t bother to write their details in it.  I always have several blank business-size cards and write the address of the hotel of where I am staying and the phone number and slip it into the bag tag.  I change it each time I fly to a new destination. I also have my home address (if you’re nervous about putting your home address always have your phone number and perhaps state and post code underneath.)

Rule 7: Always put something distinctive on your suitcase so you know it is yours

There are so many bags circulating around the carousel, and they all look the same.  Once I thought I would buy a red suitcase as there were not many red suitcases.  So, I thought!  The minute I bought a red suitcase there were 100’s at the airport.  I suggest putting a sticker, ribbon or even a cover over your suitcase, although the covers can be a hassle to get on and off.  I used to put a luggage strap around my bag, but the clip broke or it fell off and after losing 2-3 I gave up.  The strap was getting caught on things.

Rule 8: If your bag is lost always report this at the airport and get a report and a log number.

If your luggage is lost, please report this, complete a lost luggage report and get a log number and a contact for the airline.  This is important if you want to try and get your bag back.  There might be a long queue but if you do not do this you might struggle to see your bag again.  I recently helped with a lost bag, and this was traced within 7 days and returned to my client.  I once left a power bank in my check-in luggage which is a big NO as I completely forgot and my bag was offloaded on the way to London.  I went to find lost luggage and they knew exactly where my bag was, and they removed my power bank and sent it to me within 2 days.

To reiterate, allow for at least 2-hour connection times at airports and sometimes longer at bigger airports, make sure your baggage is correctly labelled and you have your details on your bag tag. Not a rule but a good idea is to put an A4 laminated sheet with your home address inside your bag as you never know if your name tags will fall off and this has happened to me.

Snaffle Travel staff travel regularly, and we love to share tips with all our clients to make their travel run more smoothly.

Snaffle Travel specialises in Equestrian Travel and Riding holidays.  Check out our website www.snaffletravel.com.au