This is why your luggage gets lost in transit by airline and what you can do about it.
THERE is good news on the lost luggage front — only 23 million bags were lost or mishandled in 2015.
Considering 3.5 billion people travelled, that’s not a bad number.
In fact, according to a new SITA report, the airline transport solutions company found that baggage mishandling hit an all-time low in 2015 and the total number of mishandled bags dropped by 50 per cent since 2007.
While the chance of your luggage getting lost has diminished from a rate of 18.8 bags per 1000 passengers in 2007 to 6.5 per 1000 in 2015, luggage still goes missing on a daily basis.
Here are the top reasons why luggage gets lost, according to the SITA report, and some tips on what you can do to reduce the chances of it happening to you.
1. Lost during a transfer.
According to the baggage report, the number one opportunity for luggage to become lost is during a missed connection.
Nearly half of the luggage that is lost or mishandled happens because it was unable to make a transfer between flights.
2. Ticketing errors, bag switches or security issues.
These issues account for about 19 per cent of lost luggage, meaning that nearly one in five bags that gets lost or mishandled falls into this category.
3. Delayed due to airport, customs, weather or space/weight restrictions.
This is a broad category but it accounts for 16 per cent of lost and delayed luggage.
4. Failure to load the bag or mishandling at arrival station.
Each of these reasons accounted for four per cent of lost and mishandled bags.
5. Tagging Error.
With major advancements in baggage handling technology, incorrect tagging now accounts for only four per cent of lost luggage.
What can you do to diminish the chances of your checked bag getting mishandled or lost?
Here are a few tips:
Avoid short connection times.
If you’re checking bags, make sure you have sufficient time between flights.
While that 40-minute connection time between flights might be legal, the chance of misconnecting is greater and so is the chance of losing your luggage.
Put ID on your bags.
Provide adequate identification on your bags. Airsafe.com offers tips for avoiding baggage issues including putting your contact information inside your bag as well as outside on both your checked luggage and carry on in case you’re required to check it at the last minute.
If your bag is a common black roller bag, a brightly-coloured tag or other unique identification can help keep your bag from accidentally being taken by another traveler at baggage claim.
Double check the destination tag.
Glance at the your checked bag receipt and bag tag before your luggage is thrown on the conveyor belt to make sure the correct destination tag is attached.
Don’t pack prohibited or restricted items.
Some items can be carried on but not checked while others are completely banned.
Enlist technology to track your bag.
While tracking your luggage doesn’t guarantee against mishandling, getting lost or being stolen, it could be fun to see which country your bag ends up in.
Purchasing one out of the dozens of personal luggage-tracking devices for peace of mind is an option. Personally, I’d wait because the airlines are currently investing heavily in the newest technology to help eliminate baggage issues and we’re seeing even more improvements as a result.
If your luggage does end up missing, or arrives damaged, you should immediately file a report as there are time limits for doing so.
If you find yourself in this situation, get onto the airline immediately: If bags are permanently lost you may receive compensation but you’ll need to provide proof of the contents of your baggage. Taking a photo of the contents can be one supporting source of documentation in addition to required receipts.
Of course the best way to avoid the issue of lost or mishandled luggage is to not check any at all but in today’s world of limited space on the plane, you may be required to gate check it at the last minute.
In any case, if you’ve done all you can do to minimize the chances of disruption you can then just let it go on its journey.
You only have 6.5 chances in a 1000 that it will get lost or mishandled.
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