Do not ever lose your luggage again!


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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Lost Luggage: It happened to me!

Is your fear of losing your checked luggage like mine?  Well, the airline misplaced our checked baggage

When packing your carry-on bag for your next vacation, a good rule of thumb is to have two days of clothes packed.  The thought is that if your checked baggage would be lost, you would have two days’ worth of clothes, and the clothes you were wearing, until they found your luggage. 


After many trips to Europe, I learned that two days’ worth of clothes in your carry-on is the perfect amount.  It gets me through the first two days without having to open my larger luggage.  On the other hand, I decided that I wasn’t going to lug around that huge suitcase anymore.  I was tired of herding around the luggage carousel like a cow at feeding time.  After a long flight waiting for my luggage to come out was even more tiring.  I learned to go to Europe having only my carry-on allowance and never checking a bag again.  Since having kids, I now have to check my luggage because it is impossible for me to lug suitcases and kids through an airport.  So now my worst fear when I travel is that the airline will lose my checked luggage. 

Questions run through my head like:  What if they lose my bag?  Will I have to find a store to buy the kid’s more clothes and shoes?  How long will it take for them to find it?  What if they don’t find?  How long before they let me know if they have no idea where my luggage really is?    Will I be reimbursed for these precious belongings?  

Well, my worst fear happened to us.  We didn’t lose a piece of our luggage but they lost our car-seat.  Yes, the one thing that you truly need when transporting a child, the airline misplaced it.  What did we have to do?  It was actually quite simple and painless, and exactly what you would do if they lost a piece of your luggage.  You need to go to the airline’s customer service counter located in the baggage claim area. Talk with their representative and tell them your baggage did not come out of the carousel.  This is where you will start to fill out paperwork so you can start your claim.  Most airlines will reimburse you for any checked baggage fees you had paid.  For us, they provided us with a car seat that they had. 



If your carry-on baggage was flagged to go under the plane and it was misplaced, do the same thing.  Thanks to the US Department of Transportation, if an airline loses your carry-on luggage they are required to reimburse your carry-on fees for all flight segments and any “reasonable expenses” if they completely lose it, damage it, or it is has been delayed.

Remember to make sure to put your claim paperwork in a safe spot. Better yet, take a picture of the paperwork on your phone so even if you misplace it you still have a digital copy of it.   Having piece of mind about what to do if your luggage is misplaced and two days worth of clothes in your carry-on makes Life Better Traveling.

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