Hundreds of airline passengers deal with lost and delayed luggage every day. Although most bags turn up, the average reunion time is 36 hours, according to SITA, the company behind the World Tracer System. The earlier you file a baggage claim, the sooner your airline can investigate its whereabouts.
SITA estimates 5.5 percent of travellers never receive their lost luggage. In such cases, the luggage goes to an Unclaimed Baggage Center, where staff process and auction if off. Needless to say, you don’t want your luggage to end up here—and neither does the airline. Besides the compensation it must dole out, lost luggage makes for a poor experience. This is why airlines like Delta are investing in new tracking systems.
Sophisticated Tracking Technologies
The American airline Delta now offers an app for locating lost luggage worldwide. Other North American airlines plan to roll out such systems in coming months, using Radio Frequency Identification (RDIF) technology instead of barcodes.
If flying with an airline without such technology, you can buy a luggage tracker yourself. The Lugloc, touted as the world’s first luggage locator, works with your smartphone to track luggage in real-time anywhere in the world. Via Bluetooth, you can also use it for close-proximity tracking.
Unfortunately, technology can only find lost luggage—not deliver it. Therefore, you’ll want to take a few precautions to avoid lengthy delays.
How to Avoid Lost Luggage Delays in the Airport
Lost luggage is rarely the passenger’s fault, but you can still take precautions to mitigate the chance of it happening.
- Take a Photo: Snap a picture of your bag before departing so that you can show the staff should it go missing.
- Check-in early: Show up at least two hours before your flight to avoid last-minute congestion that might prevent your bag from boarding.
- Use multiple tags: The airline will give you a luggage tag, but you can add your own to protect against identification mistakes or missing contact information.