The most frequent reasons Airlines lose your luggage

July 23, 2014 3 min read

Lost luggage

Photo: flikr.com

Frequent globe-trotters and travellers can compile a huge list of horrid lost-luggage tales. There are stories with happy endings and sad endings. You might fly off to New Zealand for a few days skiing trip and lose your luggage at the airport, only to be called by an Airline official the moment you arrive home telling you that your luggage has been sitting in the lost-luggage office for a week. Or you could go on a multi-city vacation and never see it again...

You might ask yourself: “Why did this happen? Why me?” Following we'll present you with the top 4 most frequent reasons why Airlines lose your luggage:

Story #1: Somehow your luggage routing label gets damaged

You check your bag and it gets tagged. Everything fine 'till here. What if the routing label is oddly printed and unreadable? Or maybe the label gets snagged off your bag between check-in and the moment you get off the plane. Also, a very common mistake, especially when you're travelling with a new suitcase is that you've forgotten to fill in leather-bound ID card.

What happens: None of the airport personnel will notice the missing or indecipherable tag until it's too late. Usually missing tags are noticed when the luggage has arrived in the chaotic distribution area. At this point there's no way to tell where the bag is headed, so it stays put. When you arrive at your destination, you'll be waiting in vain for your bag to appear on the baggage claim treadmill. If there are no more bags on the carousel, hastily file a report at the local baggage-service counter. Focus on providing a substantial description of your lost suitcase. The more information you give, the easier it will be for them to find it.

Story #2: You simply forget to pick up your luggage after landing

You receive an urgent text upon landing. You get distracted by it and head right for a taxi. Perhaps the carry-on is weighing you down and in the rush to get to that taxi, you forget you also had a checked-in bag. Or maybe you got a nice buzz from too many in-flight cocktails. No matter the reason, you walk straight past the conveyor belt and rush out of the airport without your spinner suitcase. The worst part is: You don't realise it until you're safely home.

What happens: Sooner or later, an airline employee takes the bag off the luggage claim conveyor and deposits it in the carrier's unclaimed baggage room. By now, you called the airline, they connect you with an airport-based staff member and you give the best description you can so he/she can begin the search.

Story #3: The wrong destination code is typed in by the attendant

This can happen more often in big cities that have more than one airport. You hand over your luggage to the bag-check attendant and he accidentally inputs the wrong destination code. And of course none of you double checks it. So in the end you're off to Melbourne (MEL)—while your luggage heads to MEB.

What happens: You arrive to your travel destination, but your bag does not. You'll have to immediately file a lost-luggage report and give a solid description. Then an agent will file it into the system, so that other agents are notified to pay extra attention to the unclaimed bag pile and notify you whenever a piece of luggage fitting your description arrives at their location. The suitcase will sit in the airline carrier holding area until it's properly identified. By tagging your luggage with your identification details, you'll make the airline employees' job easier to figure out where the bag was supposed to go and send it there or call to inform you it has been found. With no ID tag, your bag will sit and sit in a cold dark room with the other unclaimed luggage.

Story #4: Your bag is accidentally loaded onto the wrong plane

You check in your baggage, it rides out of view on the conveyor belt and you stroll down the airport to the terminal. Here's where human error steps in. By accident an airport/airline employee tosses it on the baggage cart flying to Jakarta and as a result it ends up visiting another country than you.

What happens: Your bag goes to the wrong city. But at least it should be properly tagged. If it is, the moment it becomes the last luggage left on the baggage-claim treadmill, an attendant will most surely see it, realise it shouldn't be there, check it and notify an attendant at your destination as per the tag. It's the airline's duty to re-route your bag to where you are. Usually your bag gets delivered to your destination or, if your trip has come to an end, to your home.

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