Seven Helpful Tips When Your Luggage is Lost
It seemed like it should have been easy. I was taking a 45-minute flight from Malaga, Spain to Madrid where I’d enjoy over two hours of a leisurely layover before catching another quick flight to Nice, France. I couldn’t fly directly, but figured the weather in the region is almost always sunny and nothing could go wrong. Well, our plane was switched due to technical issues and by the time I arrived in Madrid, I had just missed my flight. Eight hours later, I was waiting at the baggage carousel in Nice and my bag never showed. It was a major inconvenience, but I wasn’t surprised. Anytime there is a missed connection – or connection at all – the chances of your luggage not arriving increases. The following are a few helpful tips in case you run into this situation:
1. Tag Your Luggage with ID (in Several Places)
I always make sure I have a luggage tag with my name, address, phone number, and email both on the outside and inside of my bag. When checking it in, I also take the extra precaution of adding an airline tag.
2. Keep Your Claim Ticket
Know that little claim ticket they stick to the back of your boarding pass? Make sure you keep it. If your luggage is lost, you’ll need it as proof of ownership and the info and bar code will help the airline locate it more easily.
Air Companies are Rarely in Charge of Baggage
3. Take a Picture of Your Suitcase and Contents Before you Leave
Snapping a photograph of your bag on your mobile phone will remind you of important details when the airline asks you for a description. Sharing a pic with the desk agent may help him understand what type of bag to search. Consider embellishing your bag with a colorful tag or sticker so that it’s more easily identifiable. And don’t forget to photograph or keep a list of packed items for insurance purposes.
4. Layer Your Clothing for the Flight
Whenever I travel, I wear as many layers as reasonably possible – usually pants, comfortable shoes, a tee shirt, cardigan and maybe even a jacket depending on where I’m going. This is partially to regulate my sensitive body temperature – planes have the propensity to either feel hot and stagnant or freezing cold. But another reason I layer is to have a few decent clothing options to tie me over until my full travel wardrobe arrives. If you have space, it helps to pack an extra pair of underwear on your carry-on as well.
5. Bring Prescriptions on Board
Don’t sacrifice your health. Make sure to bring prescriptions or important medications on the flight. You don’t know how long your luggage may go missing and won’t want to deal with contacting your doctor for a refill – especially in other countries or on weekends.
5. Pack a Few Toiletries
Another good thing to bring on board is a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, and maybe a couple of makeup items. When my flight was delayed, I did not get into my destination until midnight. It was too late to go shopping and I was thankful to have a some toiletries to feel refreshed after a long, stressful day.
6. Have a Charger on You Too
Mobile phones are vital for staying connected. Batteries tend to drain quickly so make sure to pack a charger. You want your phone up and running when the airline tries to reach you with the status of your bag. And when traveling to another country, don’t forget to bring a small adapter.
7. Stick to Carry-on Luggage When Possible
The best way to avoid losing check-in luggage is to avoid having it at all. When you travel with carry-on, it not only helps you pack lighter, but keeps your bag with you the whole time. This is how I usually prefer to travel, but in this recent case I couldn’t since I had to bring my desktop work computer.
The good news? Around 98% of misplaced luggage is eventually returned, often within 24-72 hours.
What do you do when dealing with lost luggage? Share it in the reply section below
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of exploring the world. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as the Art Director for the branding firm, Belmont Inc., in Alexandria, VA. In her spare time, she instructs high-energy Zumba dance classes, contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.