Have you ever had lost luggage? I have been getting phone calls from our clients who are traveling to Europe this fall about the news of lost luggage. The news is showing pictures of a sea of “lost” luggage at various airports. Some news outlets such as the New York post are even saying that there are baggage system malfunctions which is causing severe delays. So what is really happening, and are bags “lost.” Not really.
Something really cool about the tag that they put on your checked bag is that they have RFID embedded in the tag. So when your luggage arrives at any airport, it is scanned and the system knows where to send it. I read an article several years ago (2003) stating that a Las Vegas airport was the first to try out this system of adding RFID to their luggage tags. They could track luggage with 99.8% accuracy which lead to a significant decrease in lost luggage. After this was a success, many airports started using the same system.
So if there is a system that can pinpoint where your luggage is at all times, how does it get lost? Well, human error. I think we all know about that so enough said. Another way is if the system goes downs as it did in Heathrow a few months ago. This leads to more humans sorting luggage than a system that is 99.8% accurate. In April 2022 more wheelchairs were mishandled than pieces of luggage, double the amount. So if you have someone with you who has a wheelchair, they are more likely to lose that than your luggage.
Is your luggage really lost? The good news is that your luggage doesn’t really get lost. There are many factors that take place: delays, connections, and cancellations. If your flight is delayed and you are running through the airport like the family in Home Alone, you might make the flight but your luggage might not. That is ok, it will be on the next flight to you. If you are delayed coming back into the country and you opt not to pick up your checked luggage because you want to make your connection, again, your luggage isn’t lost but will have to go through a few more checks before it gets to you.
So what can you do to not lose your luggage? I have been reading a lot about people putting Apple Airtags into their luggage. This is a great way to keep track of where your luggage is located at all times and helps the airlines as well. There are also several tags to use in case you don’t have an apple device that you can purchase off of Amazon that help you find your luggage. Either of these will help give you peace of mind, but just remember that nothing is ever guaranteed!
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