One of the major issues today with consumers in regards to air travel is the amount of lost baggage. Did you know that over 4 million bags a year are either lost, damaged, or in some cases, both? It is important to think about these things when preparing for take off and included in this article are several tips to help secure your luggage while flying to your destination. First, I’d like to mention that over the holidays years ago my bag was lost when the airline changed gates on my flight. This was not a small change but a change which had us traveling across the entire Houston airport from one side to another before our flight took off in 15 minutes. Not fun. Of course, when we arrived at our destinations much of the people who were in the same situation as myself had lost baggage as well. The lost luggage claim line was quite long that evening at 11pm.

My baggage did arrive, however, about a week later. The only problem was that the baggage from LAX came 90% emptied out. All the Christmas gifts and clothing (even my underwear)…gone. It is a known truth that the airlines do in fact subcontract the baggage returns to your address. Mine was a rather interesting experience where the man called on the phone and told me to leave a note saying it is ok that they leave my bag outside my door if I would not be home whenever they so decided to deliver my bag. This, I believe, is where the problem occurred as I would have rather just picked it up myself from their location, but rather the delivery people did not allow it. I am not sure how this came about but I did learn a valuable lesson. There are many little stipulations that airlines have in regards to getting reimbursed for stolen luggage. First, there are a few things they do not cover.

Items such as jewelry, electronics, furs and negotiable instruments are not covered by the airlines if lost or stolen, so keep those items with you on the plane. Next, every airline may have a different policy and many even give more priority to first class and frequent fliers over everyone else. Once you do receive payment for the stolen items, it is in a depreciated value and a lot of times they will require a receipt (in my case, receipts were required if items were valued $100 or more.) So what can travelers do to protect themselves from baggage problems? There are several things you can do, some more convenient than others. First, and most obvious, would be to simply pack light and take your luggage on the plane with you. Next, would be to take those items that you will need shortly after getting off the plane, such as toiletries and items needed for meetings or gifts for those you may be traveling to visit. Remember those electronic devices, furs, jewelry and the items not covered by the airlines in case something does happen.

Identifying your bag is another important thing to remember if you ever need to file a claim. So, always make sure your name and contact information is located on the outside of your baggage as well as inside in case the tags put on the bags should fall off and the airline needs to reach you. Take a quick picture of your bag before checking in, just in case something is broken off or torn apart during the flight. After you arrive to your destination, take a quick peek inside your bag and make sure nothing was skimmed off the top by thieves with access to your bags. Lastly, if you really do not want to check in bags and have a little extra money, you can always ship the luggage overnight via FedEx or Luggage Concierge. I know it seems a little over the top, but everyone has preferred methods and many people actually pay the $50 or so it costs just to have that peace of mind and their baggage simply delivered to their door. One out of about 150 travelers ever have a problem with a mishandled bag last year. So if there is one thing to remember, it is always a good idea to simply take precautions with your baggage especially during the holidays and have a great flight.