Mishandled baggage is not an uncommon phenomenon in air travel. The US Department of Transportation recently reported that for every 200 passengers flying domestic on the ten largest US airlines, at least one files a mishandled baggage report.
Losing one's luggage is a definite headache for travelers. To avoid such mishaps, the following pointers are recommended:
Travel with only carry-on luggage. You take your bags with you inside the cabin, so you do not have to worry about them being lost or stolen. Generally, a passenger is allowed two pieces of carry-on luggage, one for the overhead bin and the other for under the seat. Additional items such as umbrellas and baby strollers are also permitted.
Do not put heavy items in the overhead storage bin. Even lightweight items can cause serious injuries if they fall out of the overhead. The maximum weight for carry-on bags is 40 pounds, and they should not be larger than 9″ x 14″ x 22″. i>Put your contact information on every bag. Stick a label on the outside of all your luggage indicating your name and address. Put a duplicate along with your itinerary inside your bags. This will help the airline locate your bags in case they are misplaced. The measure should also be done on your carry-on bags, just in case you need to check them in at the last minute.
Customize the look of your bags. Many bags have similar designs. So, customize your checked bags to make them easier to spot on the baggage carousel and to prevent other passengers to grab them by mistake. i>Keep your valuables with you. Store your valuable items, such as money, jewelry, laptop computers and electronic files in your carry-on luggage so they would not get lost.
Verify the correctness of airline tags on your luggage. The three-letter identifier tagged on your checked baggage should match your destination airport. When in doubt, check with your ticket agent. i>Keep the stub from your checked luggage. The stub is a very important key to identifying your bags in case it is lost or picked up by someone else by accident.
Immediately report lost checked luggage. If your bags have not turned up at your destination, inform the baggage agents on duty or any of your airline's representatives available at once.
Anticipate the loss of a bag. It is always better to be safe than to be sorry. Pack your bags in a way that the loss of a bag will not hamper your trip. Distribute clothes and underwear among your bags. If you have a business meeting and are carrying presentation materials with you, either pack backup copies in another bag or have it sent ahead of you. i>Do not pack hazardous goods. Some items, while commonplace and essential at home or in the workplace, pose a safety threat to passengers and crew in the cabin. If your airline allows them in checked baggage, make sure they are packed properly.
As always, verify with your airline their policies and guidelines regarding baggage.