Beating the lost luggage woes

My trip to China in 2011 flying Qantas had the effect, among other things, of making me quite paranoid about my luggage not arriving. Three days without your stuff is not pleasant.

Last year I flew Singapore Airlines, and had no such drama (I’m flying with them again for this year’s trip). My bag arrived in Rome the same time I did*, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief and practically hugged it.

This year, I’ve taken a few extra tech/gadget precautions – rather than just cross my fingers and hope to hell my bag’s there at the other end – that I want to share with you.

I have a SuperSmart Tag attached to my suitcase, as well as a Stick-N-Find.

SuperSmart tags, while not stopping your luggage from being lost in the first place, allow your luggage to be much more easily traced if it doesn’t arrive. Each tag comes with a unique number, which you register, and then you can upload your itinerary so that if your bag does go missing, the airline can easily locate you and deliver it to you. I just copied my TripIt itinerary in against my tag.

Here’s the blurb from the website:

The way SuperSmart Tags work is very simple yet highly effective against loss. Every tag has it’s own unique ID code printed on the back of each tag. First step is to register the code and add your contact details. This takes just a few seconds. If your luggage goes missing, airport staff can type in the code found on the back of your tag in the (Report Found Tag) field on our website. They are presented with your contact details and can then get in touch with you and even forward your baggage to your destination.

The Stick-N-Find is a Bluetooth device, about the same size as a 20c coin that attaches to your bag. Just activate it via your smart phone (you have to download the app) when you are near the baggage collection area, and you will be alerted when your bag is in the vicinity. Again, it won’t stop your luggage being lost, but you can stop playing “suitcase roulette” when you get off the plane.

Here’s the blurb from the website:

The Radar Screen (on your phone) displays all of your devices within range.

You can tap the Sticker on the radar screen and decide if you would like it to buzz, flash the lights, or do both.

Once you have located a Sticker you would like to find on your Radar Screen, you start walking in a specific direction, and see if you are getting closer or further from the blue dot on your Radar Screen.

Stick-N-Find Stickers have a buzzer and light, so that you can find your tagged items in the dark.

Both solutions are inexpensive, at around $50. But then again, what cost for more peace of mind?

My other trick is to pack a change of clothes – including underwear – in my carry on (which I didn’t do when I went to China – who knew Qantas would stuff around with my luggage?!). I’m careful to select clothes to wear on the plane that I would be happy to wear for the next week! I also make sure I pack ALL my electrical stuff (chargers, plugs, external hard drives, spare batteries etc.) with my carry on.

You don’t get 5kg carry on** for nothing!

*If your luggage does not arrive, make sure you do the paperwork BEFORE you leave the terminal, AND ESPECIALLY if you are catching a connecting flight. Not completing the paperwork makes it extremely difficult to get your luggage back if you don’t. Make sure you take a picture of your bag, which you can then forward to the airline if needed.

**The only way you can really safeguard against lost luggage is to have carry on only. While I admit that’s a very appealing idea, I’ve never found it practical, especially for travel to Europe, where I am away weeks, if not months.

4 Comments

  • BookabyeBaby September 1, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Great tips! Especially for a novice like me 🙂

    Reply
    • dileeshus September 2, 2013 at 8:07 am

      Glad you found these tips useful, Mel 🙂

      Reply
  • Susan Cooper/findingourwaynow.com September 2, 2013 at 3:43 am

    It’s a pain in the butt when luggage is lost or delayed. I love the tips. I try not to check bags unless I have no choice. As you’ve mentioned, that isn’t very practical when traveling for a longer period of time. ?

    Reply
    • dileeshus September 2, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Susan, as one of my Twitter followers said (and I paraphrase): lost luggage is the number one fear of travellers, other than the plane falling out of the sky. I have to concur!

      Reply

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