Lost bags

Reply

Oct 7th, 2008, 08:08 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 63
Lost bags

How often do you lose your checked in bags on your flights??

I have heard from friends who travel to the US regularly that it is so common that they even fear flying there except that he has no choice due to work.

So, are there any ways we can do as travellers to minimise this risk? I am contemplating making everyone in my family bring a carry on and check in only one or two big bags. How effective are the TSA locks?
Nyetzy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 05:23 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
When six of us flew to Scotland this summer (three segments, US Airways and BA/Flybe), three of us arrived without our checked luggage. Dad's luggage got there in two days, K's in three days - mine was five days. And that only because I hounded them constantly to try to find it.

On the way back, they lost my luggage again. Got it back in two days.

My last trip to SFO I did carry-on only. It's the only way I can guarantee I'll have it.
GreenDragon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 05:35 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,605
One tip is to examine the tags they print and attach to make sure the bag's routing is correct. (ex. San Antonio, not San Diego)
Travelnut is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 05:40 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 133
Only once in 36 years of traveling was my baggage delayed, and only for a day. I've never had a bag totally lost, or had anything stolen. I'm not a frequent flyer, but I do take multiple trips per year.

I always carry a change of clothes in my carryon, as well as anything of value or necessity (camera, medicine, etc.) My checked bag only contains shoes and clothes. I haven't used the TSA locks, so no comment on those.
LMGSONIC is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 06:23 AM
  #5
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 141
When checking in, if you have a rolling suitcase, have them put the check-in tag on the pully handle instead of the carry handle. We learned that the hard way. The handle fell off and the bag arrived about 3 weeks later. Thank goodness it was not on the way there, but on the way home.
shangrila is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 06:28 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
I've been traveling about one major trip a year for 12 years. Of those trips, my bags have been delayed on 5 legs of those trips (either incoming or outgoing). That's about 20% of the time (assuming 24 legs).

Maybe I'm just lucky. I always have my name and address on the luggage, double check that they are properly labeled, etc. Once it was because the handlers broke the handle, which is where the tags were (it was a leather duffel). Another time it was 'lost' between the delivery service (who never got the paperwork) and the airline (who thought they had sent the bag).

GreenDragon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 06:54 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 157
We have only had our luggage lost one time, and that was on our return flight from Hawaii that required us to change planes in San Francisco and switch from a United flight to a US Air flight.

The same exact thing happened to my brother two weeks before our trip when he too had to switch from a United flight to US Air.

Based on that experience, I would have to say it is best to stick with one airline. Even though those airlines have a partnership, they still do things differently. According to the customer service representative at the airport, United scans the barcodes on the luggage tags but US Air doesn't? The problem with that is that even though they had documentation that the bags were on the first plane, after that point, we had no clue where they were and US Air apparently had no way to find out. And they told us it happened frequently! Good luck!
debrad149 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 07:25 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,190
I have never (knock on wood) had my luggage lost or delayed. Some of the things I try to do:

1. Nothing of value goes in the bag;

2. I make sure the bag is in good shape before taking it. If the handle seems a bit wobbly, I use a different bag;

3. I put only one ID tag on the outside of the bag. No other strings, tags, etc. are put on the outside that can get caught up with anything along the way;

4. I arrive at the airport early enough so I have enough time to make sure my bag is labelled correctly;

5. I try to keep the connections to a minimum, and I use the airline's recommended connections;

6. I don't stress over it. If it gets lost, then all I've lost are clothes and shoes - no big deal.
toedtoes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 8th, 2008, 08:20 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
How often do you lose your checked in bags on your flights??

Here are the most recent stats from the DOT ... http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/reports/atcr08.htm

If you open the PDF the info you seek is on pg 28, "MISHANDLED BAGGAGE REPORTS FILED BY PASSENGERS", listed by airline .. average was 4.98 per 1,000 passengers so about 1 in 200 odds ... or more than one person per plane on a big international flight, on average.

So, are there any ways we can do as travellers to minimise this risk?

Avoid tight connecting flights, put a copy of your schedule (flights, contact info) inside the bag in case the tags get ripped off.

How effective are the TSA locks?

The 3 digit combo ones can be opened pretty quickly, the 4 digit ones take 10x as long to open ... we use the keyed ones

We've only had delayed luggage problems twice, once when all the tags were ripped off by the baggage sorting machines and we had no name tags inside (took 2 months to get the suitcase back), once when we were 7 hours late making a connection in Newark to Paris because of storms. We barely made the last flight of the night, the luggage didn't but came a day later ... now we always put 2 pairs of socks and undies in our carry-on.
Bill_H is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 07:04 AM
  #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,709
I've been traveling for about 30 years and have never had a lost bag. FOr the last 5 years I've almost always done carry on. Our last trip to Mexico we checked bags and would have not had such a mess we I had carried on. One non-stop to JFK I checked because everyone I was with did. The flight was cancelled and we couldnt' get on a quicker flight out because our bags were stuck on the other plane sitting at the gate.
Austin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 07:13 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 89,170
I have never lost a suitcase, and I've been traveling for over 30 years. Only 1 single time it was delayed overnight & that was on my way home.

No reason to bring "two big bags" for the family.

In your carry-ons pack essentials that could get you thru the first day, in case of delay. Then have each person check one normal sized bag through.

I never bother to lock my suitcase anymore, as there is nothing of monetary value, just my clothes.

But TSA locks work fine.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 08:37 AM
  #12
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22,313
I have heard from friends who travel to the US regularly that it is so common that they even fear flying there except that he has no choice due to work.

I have to question whether your friend either,

a) has been extraordinarly unlucky, or
b) simply lacks objectivity.

US airlines actually do a significantly better job handling baggage than European carriers. I could bore you with my own anecdotal evidence, but the numbers are so startling, that there is no need.

As noted in Bill_H's post, the rate of mishandled bags in the US was 4.98 in August 2008. The worst performance was Comair at 9.73. Meanwhile, European airlines mishandled an average of 15.5 bags per flight. In other words, the worst US airline lost 6.2 fewer bags than your average European airline!

The worst European airline (BA), lost over 3x more baggage than Comair. The best European carrier (Turkish) lost 1.5x more baggage than the best US carrier (Hawaiian). The WORST mainline US airline (United) mishandled 6.48 bags per 1000 pax. The BEST major carrier in Europe (Iberia), mishandled 11.1 per 1000 pax.

http://files.aea.be/News/PR/Pr08-015.pdf

Of course, if it is your bag lost, you don't care about overall statistics, but it is pretty obvious that you are better off entrusting your bags to any American airline than just about any European airline.

Data for Asian carriers is tough to find, but if this blog is accurate, even venerable Singapore Air is not clearly better (they use a different measure making it difficult to judge), as they mishandled somewhere around 4 in every 1000 bags (the US and Europeans measure versus enplanments).

http://williamleekg.blogspot.com/200...g-in-2007.html
travelgourmet is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 09:18 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,881
Meanwhile, European airlines mishandled an average of 15.5 bags per flight

Gourmet, did you really mean "per flight" or "per 1000 passengers", like the US data I linked to. If "per flight" then that would be truly terrible but I think you probably meant "per 1000 pax"?

BTW these are customer complaints for lost, delayed or damaged luggage, all lumped together. The figure for "lost" for more than 1-2 days is quite a bit lower than 4.98 per 1,000 pax.

Bill
Bill_H is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 10:10 AM
  #14
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22,313
did you really mean "per flight" or "per 1000 passengers", like the US data I linked to.

You are right, I meant, per 1000 passengers. Nonetheless, I think the numbers are startling, particularly for the worst offenders, like BA.
travelgourmet is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 9th, 2008, 06:12 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,190
In regards to the stats, you also have to remember that there are many flights with NO lost baggage, and one flight that might have an entire truckload misrouted. That means that depending on the types of flights you take, you may not have any trouble for years or you may see it everytime you fly.
toedtoes is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2008, 05:07 AM
  #16
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,313
To be fair, one of the reasons our bags were missing on the way back from Scotland is because somehow, in the middle of the night before our flight, about a third of the passengers were put on standby. That meant that all our luggage was labeled standby. We got on, our luggage evidently did not. However, we did get it the next day, and it was on the way home, not on the way out, which made it easier. We saw the labels when we got our luggage It was a grand mess all over.
GreenDragon is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2008, 01:22 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 126
I used to be a bag room supervisor for United and I have a few tips.

First, remove any barcoded tags from previous flights. Even if your bag is tagged properly, it could be misrouted to a different baggage belt due to an old tag that is read by a scanner.

Also, I believe most airlines' tags print an extra set (or two) of your bag tag numbers (about 1/2 inch tall and as wide as the original tag.) We would pull one from a misrouted bag to research it. Apply one of these extra mini-tags directly onto your bag so that in the event of a "tag-off," your bag can still find you.

Next, always have the name of the actual traveler on the bag. (A copy of your itinerary in an accessible pocket would be great too.) We would try to research bags that had been misrouted and sometimes we would not be able to find the passenger that was listed on the owner's tag. Some people borrow bags or have gotten married and their names have changed.

Also, never check valuables in your bags and I highly recommend bringing a carry on with at least one days worth of clean underwear.

Good luck.
misterfuss is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2008, 11:03 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Make sure you know the code for your destination airport and double check that your luggage tag has the proper airport code.

I always put my name and contact phone no. along with my itinerary details inside my luggage as well as having my name tag on the outside of the luggage.

LoveItaly is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2008, 06:08 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 290
Misterfuss, would you be able to give some advice about baggage locks?

I am aware that just about any lock can be opened, so do not want to lock our suitcases to prevent anything being stolen. However, I would like to secure our cases so I know if they have been opened (we Australians are a little paranoid about undesirable things being popped into our luggage - like drugs!)

I found some "Tamper Tell" easy seals at a luggage shop. They are threaded through the zipper loops and tighten - a bit like a hospital id bracelet. Each seal has a unique number so it can't be replaced by another seal without your knowledge.

Would you recommend these?
Ozziez is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 11th, 2008, 06:32 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 10,190
I've seen the premise of hiding drugs in someone's luggage in the movies a lot, but I've never really thought it was a practical plan to import drugs.

To access your suitcase after you are separated with it, I (the druggie) needs to gain access to the "other side" of the airport to get to your suitcase to slip the drugs into it.

Then what happens?

I sit around praying that customs will not find the drugs in your suitcase?

And then, if customs doesn't find the drugs?

I have a partner who accesses the "other side" of the airport at the destination in order to pull out the drugs?

I have a partner who waits at baggage to steal your bag before you see it?

I get on the plane with you and the bag and then try to steal it at the other end?

Somehow I think there are much easier ways to sneak drugs into a country.

toedtoes is offline  
Reply With Quote
 


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:51 AM.