Know thy Bag! If you travel a lot, the chance that you’ll find yourself in a baggage claim office is high. Lost, delayed or damaged bags do not discriminate against luggage-checkers only. Even travelers who try never to check a bag end up gate-checking on smaller flights.
One of the primary questions asked at the baggage claim office is “What does your bag look like?” Answering with ‘a black rollaboard’ is like answering ‘white’ as to what color your hotel towels are. Details, details, details, please!
Note the brand name, size, color and style of each piece, along with any distinguishing characteristics. For example, my bag is an 18-in Samsonite light blue bag with bright green handle covers that have ‘Smart Women Travelers’ name and logo along with my laminated business card as the ID. Think that’ll make the bag easier to find? You bet!
Inside each bag you check, have an easy-to-find sheet of paper that has your name, your home telephone number, your mobile-phone number, along with the names, addresses and phone numbers of where you’ll be staying while on your trip. If your outside name tag is lost, the airline can get your details from the contact information you wisely stashed on the inside. If you are traveling internationally, you can also use Google Translate to translate your information into the language of the country you are visiting or the countries of the airports that your bag may be connecting through.
And speaking of international … finding yourself in a baggage claim office in a foreign-speaking airport can be daunting. Have a photo of your bag (use your mobile phone to snap this photo) will help the agent understand what the bag looks like. Have a copy of your translated travel information handy as this will be much easier for them to understand.
If you bag is delayed and will be arriving the next day or later, ask the baggage claim office for an overnight kit. They used to be automatically given out with lost or delayed luggage but lately my experience (and the experience of others) has shown that the overnight kit isn’t given out unless you know to ask for it. It isn’t the greatest kit in the world to substitute for your personal items in your luggage, but you will usually get a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and maybe a t-shirt.