Plastic wrapping for luggage?

Apr 3rd, 2013, 01:31 PM
Original Poster
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Plastic wrapping for luggage?

Hi folks,

I'm a reporter at the Wall Street Journal and working on an article about luggage wrapping--the service offered at airports around the world that involves encasing suitcases in plastic film to protect them against damage and intrusions.

I'm curious to hear what people think about this service, whether they've used it or not. What are the pros and cons? If anyone is available to talk this over in a quick phone chat, please send me your contact info to [email protected].

Thanks very much,

Arian Campo-Flores
acampoflores is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 01:48 PM
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As far as I'm concerned, it's totally worthless if you are flying to the U.S. and customs wants to inspect your luggage.

A real waste of money and generally bought by neophytes.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2013, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for the reply Rastaguytoday. Please send me your contact info to my email address above if you're free to speak briefly.
acampoflores is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 12:21 AM
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If you are flying to certain countries eg South Africa, Nigeria etc, where checked luggage might be at risk of being tampered with, then it is probably a good idea to get your luggage shrink wrapped. I have seen many people get this done at Joburg airport for instance.
I don't agree with the comments by Rastaguy, if carry on luggage is being referred to then obviously you wouldn't have it wrapped and if it is hold luggage then a bit of plastic is not going to stop customs, in any case they have ways to examine luggage without opening the case.
Odin is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 06:28 AM
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Customs and TSA (or their equivalent in non-US countries) and thieves routinely gut off locks, zip-ties and other devices used to secure luggage so there's no reason to think a few sheets of plastic wrap is going to stop them. Rastaguy is right - wrapping your luggage is a waste of time any money.

Sure, loads of people will probably write in saying how their wrapped luggage made it to their destination unscathed but million more pieces of unwrapped luggage are handled by the airlines everyday without incident.

I rarely check luggage but when I do I NEVER put anything in the bag that I don't mind losing. Keep all your valuables in your carry-on and forget the plastic wrap.
RoamsAround is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 08:54 AM
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It's not about the airlines, its about the baggage handlers at the destination and if that's Lagos you will want to have your checked luggage wrapped. It's not necessarily about losing your valuables either, it's about losing the basics from your suitcase or having someone going thru your things. If some airlines offer free wrapping and there is a wrapping point every few yards in an airport, there is a message in that somewhere.
Odin is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Nor will it stop Miami's baggage handlers from stealing everything they can.

The SFO customs officer made comments to that effect, as it's well know that thieves are rampant. I've had my suitcase(s) broken into numerous times in MIA.
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 09:23 AM
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Tell me, how does wrapping luggage in plastic guarantee "baggage Handlers" won't go through your belongings? A simple box cutter or single edge razor blade is all that's needed to cut off the wrapping and gain access to any piece of luggage. If baggage handlers can conceal & carry the necessary implement to cut locks, zip-ties and other items designed to secure luggage they can just as easily carry said box cutter or other tool to cut open the plastic wrap. Locks, plastic wrap or whatever WILL NOT stop a determined thief. I dare say wrapping luggage in plastic does the opposite by shouting out "HEY, LOOK AT ME THERE MUST BE SOMETHING WORTHWHILE INSIDE"!!!!
RoamsAround is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 10:30 AM
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I used it in South Africa in JB and a small airport in the boondocks mainly because I didn't like the looks of the place. Luggage arrived still wrapped in US, did customs, they didn't bother to check it, checked into my ongoing domestic flight where I was told it would have to be cut off in order to be handled by them. Thought that was weird but then Southwest sometimes is weird. I really didn't have any thing of great value but when I got home and unlocked it there was the SW\TSA notice inside. The cost of course varies when I had it done in JB was the equal of about 5.00 the small airport 3.00.
JoanneH is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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Not to hijack the thread but let me add this: I've been traveling for 40+ years and have never locked my checked luggage. The only things that have ever gone "missing" were 2 leather belts (all in Africa) - the first one was on a flight between Victoria Falls and Johannesburg - when I got to my hotel I notice one belt was missing (I thought perhaps I might have inadvertently left it behind at the hotel). A week later after a flight from Johannesburg to Honk Kong I again noticed a belt was missing from my bag.

Two belts in less than a week - Oh, the horrors! Conclusion - Someone in Johannesburg has a belt fetish.
RoamsAround is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 11:49 AM
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All, Very interesting commentary. As noted above, I'd love to speak by phone with anyone who's available. Please send your contact info to: [email protected]. Thanks much.
acampoflores is offline  
Apr 4th, 2013, 11:45 PM
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For Aussies, the concern may be not that someone is going to steal your stuff but they will put 'something' in it e.g. Schapelle Corby.
MissGreen is offline  
Apr 5th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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I've seen the wraps done at various airports and always thought it was to protect the suitcase material from damage.
Underhill is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 04:01 AM
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I have only noticed them in Madrid airport. I thought the main purpose was for those folks with super huge suitcases that are bulging at the seams, o just to make sure the suitcase stays together and that the zippers on the seams don't break. Because I've seen various people with that problem in the check-in line, they look like they are moving house or something and are having trouble keeping a suitcase closed. I could see doing it if your suitcase was a little old or very stuffed and you were concerned it would fall apart.

They might have more theft in Madrid, also, who knows. THis is the service at Madrid

Now if you can read Spanish, what is interesting about that service is that they not only offer the wrapping service, but they will sell you insurance at the time to cover its loss or damage. In theory, the airline is supposed to pay for that, of course.

I've never used it, but the problem I see with this is that the TSA or other airport security are allowed to get into your baggage if they think they want to look at something. So then they'd slice through it, anyway, and they do that upon boarding, I believe, not at arrival. So then it wouldn't protect anything. And of course any thief could also, I guess the idea is that they'd be less likely to do something so obvious, which could be true.

My bags are frequently searched in the US, and I'm not sure why. I have a theory that a book must show up on the screener as something they need to search, as I often have a paperback book in the front pocket on my luggage and many times when I arrive, it has that paper in it that says TSA has opened my bags.
Christina is offline  
Apr 6th, 2013, 06:59 AM
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I check bags rarely and only on the way home and put dirty laundry and shoes in them so I don't use the service. I'd only use it to protect the suitcase itself in dubious locations.
annw is offline  

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