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As any experienced international traveller will already be well aware, there are many different potential causes of frustration for those who regularly find themselves jetting from place to place. Interminable flight delays are one thing and poor service another, but perhaps even more frustrating than these niggles is losing luggage. Millions of bags are lost between airports around the world every year, and although there are certain precautions you can take it’s impossible to completely eliminate the risk of losing luggage. Many of those bags which do get lost are, unfortunately, never recovered. So just why do airlines lose so much luggage?
Before you check in, it’s important to make sure that you’ve labelled your luggage properly. Clear labelling can significantly reduce the risk of loss. However, labelling can and frequently does get damaged in transit. It may be, for instance, that the label gets caught on something while passing through baggage handling and gets torn off. In this situation, it’s difficult for the baggage handling operatives to work out precisely where the bag is supposed to go. The bag therefore goes nowhere and the airport hangs on to it. Of course, provided the owner of the baggage reports its loss quickly enough and provides a thorough description of what it looks like, there’s a good chance that they’ll be able to recover it.
It should go without saying that many travellers are so pressed for time they find themselves in a real rush. It’s perhaps not too surprising, then, that these passengers may forget to collect some of their baggage as they’re making their way out of the airport. After a long day’s travelling, it perhaps shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that certain things can escape our attention. Again, baggage which passengers have simply forgotten to pick up should find its way to the airport’s lost luggage room, where its owners can collect them.
Another common reason why so much luggage is lost by airlines is simple human error. All it takes is for an absent-minded employee to load your bags on to the wrong cart for them to then end up in completely the wrong place. Sometimes another, more eagle-eyed worker will notice from the labelling that these bags have been directed towards the wrong flight, and will then send them back to the lost luggage department.
What you can do
It’s worth remembering that there are things you can do to at least reduce the risk of your baggage being lost. This could, therefore, save you a lot of aggravation further down the line. Clear labelling can help in this regard. Make sure you label your baggage in several places – don’t just put a single label on each bag, because this can easily become detached from it during transit. It might be a good idea to place identification tags inside your luggage as well as outside, so that it’s easier to track down. You might also want to consider leaving a copy of your itinerary in your luggage, so that airline workers will know who the bag belongs to and where they can find you.
Guest article contributed by Rachael Blakewood on behalf of luggage specialists Left Baggage