Your Luggage

Luggage used to be what it is called. You had to lug it around because it was big and heavy. When your coach or car brought you to the train station a uniformed porter would port your luggage to a cart and put it with other bags and trunks to be loaded on the same train.

People that had any intention of ever seeing all of their things again would tip the nice man.

Now, here in the future, things haven’t changed all that much.  Except the whole train thing, those are pretty much gone.  At least as far as effective long distance passenger service is concerned. And nobody carries bags anymore, we drag them. Should it should be called rollage? Or maybe dragage?

The bags are still surrendered to a uniformed person that has the success of your entire trip in their personal power. Tipping might still be a good idea.

Generally mistakes are rare when it comes to checking a bag to the correct destination and having it get there. What could possibly go wrong? I read that about 1 percent of baggage is “mis-handled”. It doesn’t sound like much but if there are a hundred bags on a flight on average one of them should probably be somewhere else.

Things That Possibly go Wrong

1. When you are asked by anyone having anything to do with your bags what your destination is always answer with the “AIRPORT” and “CITY”.  Many airlines serve multiple airports near the same city.  For example “Washington, Dulles” or Intercontinental, Bush, Houston” could be good answers.  Some airports have several names which are used interchangeably like Hartford-Bradley-Windsor Locks.  A true road warrior will know the three letter identifier for the destination. IAH, BDL, whatever. Check to see that your bag is tagged to the place you next want to see it.

2. If you have a lay-over in say, Dallas, change planes then continue to Seattle on the same airline your destination is still Seattle. The only exception might be a stroller you need for the baby during a long layover. Some airlines will bring the stroller up for you to use during a layover but it might not be worth the trouble.

3. If you have a lay-over in Dallas and you are continuing on a different airline to Seattle be sure to explain in the following language: “My destination is Seattle on brand X air, I am connecting on Brand A airlines at DFW.”  Will my bags transfer “interline”? Or will I need to claim and re-check to the destination. A brief weird explanation will follow. Ask questions, get answers. Look at the claim check.

4. Picture the top of an SUV. Picture all of your baggage stacked up there. Picture someone tossing it off to the ground. Gleefully. The happy baggage handlers are still hard at work getting your baggage from carts to the airplane and back to the conveyor system where the straps can get caught in the works of the machinery and pulled off.

5. Never ever have nice luggage. Those utility totes that the big home improvement stores sell make great travel bags. They have wheels, are tough and allow for dragging even more stuff along too. Nice luggage gets damaged, fact’ o life. Luggage straps will cause a bag to get mis-routed because it can confound the machinery. A strap may get tangled in a machine and delay the bag until after the flight has left. You might even see it again someday. Click straps are great if they are kept tight.

6. Never ever have tags or stickers on your bag that are from a previous flight. When things get weird and somebody sees only the destination, not last years date, your bag may well end up where you were last year. Or Worse.

7. Baggage that is common should be personalized with a ribbon, sticker or something. People actually do confuse bags sometimes. Make it easy for us to find out who you are and how to contact you right away if this happens. We usually try to find people at the rental car counter. A copy of your itinerary in a easy to find packet is a good idea.

8. Most lost baggage (the kind you never see again) is actually stolen. Never make your baggage look nice. It should be durable but not attractive.  It shouldn’t spend any more time alone than necessary at the baggage claim place.  Thieves will usually take bags that are common in appearance so they can say they thought it was theirs.

9. Locks are not cool, the TSA inspectors will often take them off. If they won’t come off easily the bag will be delayed.

10. NEVER pack anything hazardous. the FAA and TSA have really good web resources for what hazardous means. Some of the less obvious things are matches, mercury, batteries, or any kind of fireworks. Hazardous stuff presented for air transport creates a violation of Federal law and can get you in a huge amount of trouble.

Carry on bags might always have to be checked in the cargo bin at the last minute so keep a little bag inside the carry-on  for medication, cameras, and stuff you can’t part with gleefully. Just say. “Sure I can check it if I must, just let me get my medication and diamonds out”.

Thank you for playing along, Happy Landings

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3 Responses to “Your Luggage”

  1. Thank you so much for all the information and little tidbits you are imparting here. I have the {mis}fortune of when I fly, it usually involves an 18 hour direct flight to get to my destination. (South Africa) – spending all that time couped up in “cattle class” is anything but fun, but knowing that I have a competent person manning the helm helps a little 🙂

  2. Shapelle Corby deeply regrets not putting a lock on her luggage.

  3. These pointers should be reprinted on leaflets and stacks of them in a “Please Take One”-tray should be posted at every airport entrance/check-in spot.
    Good stuff.

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