The luggage frenzy happening across a multitude of airports from London to Amsterdam is showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, suitcases are lining the floors of baggage halls like giant games of Jenga.
Why is this such an issue? Travel has hit pre-pandemic levels while staffing levels are at rock bottom. Luggage is piling up, not because it’s been lost, but simply because there is no one to load it onto the plane.
That said, many airline employees are also on strike these days. As a result, many pieces of luggage don’t get loaded onto the plane.
This luggage nightmare even caused the airline KLM to ban passengers from checking their bags on flights to Amsterdam earlier this month, in an attempt to curb the dire pileup that is sitting abandoned on airport floors.
Lost baggage claims are up by 30% compared to 2019. The crisis is global, and back in April, US airlines lost or damaged over 220,000 bags.
Currently, just under 9 bags per 1,000 aren’t arriving on the international flights they were intended for. However, there is good news. Not only do most bags turn up eventually, but there are actions you can take to prevent yours from going astray.
What Can You Do To Prevent Losing Your Luggage?
Let’s take a look at your options if you fear losing your luggage.
Take Hand Luggage Only
The best option for ensuring your luggage makes it to your final destination is to keep it with you at all times. Pack light and use a carry-on-sized suitcase when possible.
Remember, you can take a piece of hand luggage AND a personal item onto the plane with most airlines. This isn’t always an option, so read on to find out other measures you can put in place to avoid lost baggage.
Travel With Recognizable Luggage
Do you know how many plain black suitcases are covering the floors of London Heathrow right now? Our guess is quite a lot. If your baggage becomes lost, you’ll need to fill out a form in order to help your airline to locate it.
Bright and patterned suitcases are more easily recognizable in a sea of baggage than plain and dark-colored ones. No need to go and buy a new suitcase before boarding. If you have a plain bag, simply attach a vibrant luggage strap.
Use A Luggage Locator
Simply connect the Bluetooth tracker to your phone and pop it in your suitcase. That way, if your luggage is lost, you can assist airport staff in finding it.
Use A Luggage Tag
Before checking your baggage in, ensure you have secured a luggage tag on it with your personal details, including phone number and address.
Luggage is often pulled out of the loft after being forgotten about for months in order to take a trip, so if you already have a tag on your bag, make sure the information is still correct.
Book Direct Flights
Flights with multiple stops have been the cause of many a baggage mixup, even before this summer of luggage chaos began. The more flights, the higher the chance of your bag getting lost along the way.
If it’s possible, book a direct flight. That way, if your luggage does somehow get lost, you know it can only be at your departure destination.
While losing your luggage is a vacation crisis, if it happens to you, don’t panic. If you’ve taken these steps, you’ll have done everything you can to avoid lost baggage and once you’ve alerted the airline to your issue, your bag will often turn up within a few days or weeks.