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Six travel hacks to prevent lost luggage

How to reduce the risk of lost luggage when flying

Last year 26 million luggage items were misplaced or lost on flights and in airports. And with the days leading up to Christmas and New Year being some of the busiest for an airline, the experts at 1st Move International have provided 6 game-changing tips on how you can reduce the risk of lost luggage, and what to do if you’re the unfortunate victim of it.



1. Opt for direct flights, over those with a layover

Most baggage losses occur during international flights, especially those with layovers during busy periods, due to the increased risk of transferring baggage from one aircraft to another. Where possible, take a direct flight to avoid this risk, or if a layover is inevitable, take a longer one. This will give staff more time to transfer baggage, and more time means less room for error! 


2. Remove old airline stickers and tags from your belongings

It’s easy to forget to remove tags from previous flights, but doing so will make it easier for airline staff to see the most recent tags and not get confused by other labels. And if your baggage is lost, it will be quicker to get back to you if they can scan it! 


3. Use a luggage tag that is sturdy, visible and distinct

With a luggage tag that is both durable and distinct, you’ll be able to locate your belongings after a flight, and others will be less likely to mistake your suitcase for their own. You'll also make it easier for staff to return lost baggage to you by including up-to-date contact details on your tag. 


4. Include a paper version of your details and itinerary in your suitcase 

Occasionally, luggage tags fall off or are damaged during transit. In this case, it's a good idea to keep a paper copy of your contact information and itinerary inside your luggage. 


5. Get a GPS luggage tracker

For extra assurance, buying a good-quality GPS tracker can do wonders. Airtags or Tile Mates can be easily stored in your suitcase, allowing you to track its whereabouts from your phone. Not only will it put you at ease for your flight, but it will also make it easier to find your luggage in the event an airline does lose it! 


6. Take a photo of your baggage before check-in

Last but not least, consider taking a quick photo of your baggage before checking it in. That way, if your belongings are lost, staff will have a reference image to locate it and ensure it’s safely returned.


If you are facing the frustration of lost luggage, Mike Harvey, Managing Director at 1st Move International, has some advice:


“The first thing you should do is immediately report the issue to the airline’s baggage claim officer or customer service desk. It’s crucial to file a lost baggage report before leaving the airport, as this initiates the tracking process. Usually, baggage will be tagged with your flight information, but just in case you’ll want to give the airline a description, be as thorough as possible. How many cases, how big are they, what colour are they, and what brand? Every detail helps.


Next, check your travel insurance policy for coverage in case of lost or delayed baggage, and keep receipts for any purchases if you have to replace lost items (even if they might be found later). You may be able to claim these costs back.


Finally, always try to pack a few days’ worth of essentials in your carry-on just in case of situations like this.”


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Published: 20 December 2023

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