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Lost luggage is a worst-case-scenario for those who opt to travel with checked luggage. However, it turns out that passengers could prevent their bags from going missing if they follow one simple piece of advice.
A baggage handler explained that one of the main causes of bags not making it to the destination is due to old luggage tags.
“Bags are rarely ‘lost’ – they normally miss their flights,” explained the airport worker in a Reddit post.
“But a bag that is lost the most common way it happens is when someone doesn’t take their last bag tag off, so now the bag has two tags on it.
“And if I can see one of the tags I assume it is going to the wrong destination and send it there.
“Now [when a] passenger gets to the correct destination and his bag isn’t there, we try to look in all the normal locations nowhere to be found.
“The bag is instead at location two.
“A lot of communication must happen to find the bag and get it to the correct destination after a mix up like this.”
Bag tags are applied at the airport check-in desk to direct the bag to the correct flight.
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They often feature a barcode to be scanned, which will automatically transfer the bag to the correct flight.
However, if the wrong tag is scanned this means luggage can end up jetting off to an unexpected location.
“Remove old tags, if you have a bag tag from two years ago, as well as a load of other ones, it takes us infinitely longer to find the right date, for where it’s supposed to be going,” agreed a second baggage handler.
“God forbid we actually misinterpret it and send it to the wrong place, this almost always happens because the tags are confusing and we only have an hour to sort 800 bags going to three places.”
One way passengers can help speed up the process of finding a lost bag is to ensure that they always attach their name and contact details to their suitcase.
“Fill out the name and address form that is attached or built-in,” advised the baggage handler.
“If your luggage is for whatever reason misplaced, if we have no contact number to phone, we won’t be able to contact our superiors to say ‘Mr. Smith’s bag tags have come off, which flight/train was he on so we can reprint them.’
“We don’t want to go through your belongings looking for a name, so make sure it’s on there!!”
Holidaymakers should also ensure they have adequate travel insurance in place.
This is vital in the rare event that a suitcase can not be located for some time, or at all.
Anna Sant, travel insurance expert at MoneySuperMarket told Express.co.uk: “As soon as you book your holiday – even if it’s within your own country – it’s important that you take out insurance to ensure you and your possessions are protected.
“When taking out a policy, pay close attention to the baggage cover, which will cover you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen while you’re travelling.
“Some insurers only cover up to £1,000 worth of items, so it’s worth checking that you have the right level of cover for your needs.”
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