Checked bag tips

MEGAN PINCKNEY | 5/25/2017, 3:07 p.m.
There is no worst start to a trip than arriving to your destination without your luggage. Airlines are notorious for ...

There is no worst start to a trip than arriving to your destination without your luggage. Airlines are notorious for often delaying your luggage’s travel, or losing it all together. And no matter where you are going or what you have packed, not having your things arrive when you do is always frustrating.

As Memorial Day Weekend approaches and everyone begins to take advantage of the four-day weekend (and unofficial start to summer), airports will be inundated with tons of travelers. Although there is no way to make certain that your bag will not get lost, here are a few tips to give you the best chance of having your luggage arrive at your destination at the same time you do.

Be friendly to the associates at ticketing

It sounds so simple, but being friendly to the people working behind the ticketing desk is your first defense at ensuring the safe arrival of your bags. While I do not believe that agents purposely lose bags or delay them being sent to your plane, I am certain that they are able to control how well they do their job. Those agents are met with resistance and negative attitudes all day long. If you allow yourself to be their ray of sunshine, it will transform you from “just another customer” to an actual human being in their eyes. And once you’ve established a positive interaction with them, they will be much more likely to ensure that they’re attaching your tracking sticker correctly, putting your luggage on the correct belt and making sure that nothing about the bag would hinder it from meeting you at your final destination.

Keep an eye out

Agents at the ticketing desk are always busy, especially on holiday weekends. They are doing multiple things all at the same time, while trying to move everyone through the line quickly. With that kind of pressure, human error is bound to happen at some point. Being aware of this possibility can help ensure that the error does not happen to you. Keep an eye out as you check your luggage. Make sure the agent has printed the correct final destination and name on the tag attached to your bag. Watch the agent place your luggage on the belt that takes it to the baggage service, and then stick around to make sure that the luggage actually leaves the ticketing area. Time is always of the essence at airports. Your luggage sitting at the ticketing desk for 10 extra minutes could be the determining factor for whether it made your flight.

Be aware of the tags attached to your luggage

The airline will always attach a tracking sticker with your name and final destination to your luggage. Help make life easier for the people handling your luggage by removing any tags from a previous trip, even if it’s just from your outbound trip. Baggage handlers deal with thousands of bags in a matter of minutes and don’t always have the time to be as thorough as we would like. If there is more than one sticker, a baggage handler might accidentally scan the wrong tag, sending your bag to a place you aren’t headed to. Also, be sure your name, address, phone number and email address are all written neatly on a sturdy luggage tag that can withstand things such as rain or getting pulled. Airlines often offer paper tags at the desk, but those can easily be removed or ruined. Choose your own tag and attach it in a very conspicuous location.