WORKING ABROAD / JUL. 30, 2014
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How to Prevent Lost Luggage on Business Trips

Have you ever waited at the baggage terminal, only to discover that your bag never arrived? If you are on a business trip, this can be a nightmare. You’re supposed to be meeting a client that evening, but all you have is the clothes on your back. What do you do?

Although you can go buy some new clothing, it’s a hassle and you may simply not have the time to do so. Perhaps there were crucial items in your luggage that you need for your meetings. Although you can react to these situations, it’s much better to be proactive. This way, you can prevent your lost luggage so that you do not need to take reactive measures.

 

Tips to Ensure Your Baggage is Not Lost

Travelling on business trips is a tiring and stressful ordeal. The last thing you need is lost luggage, so please be aware of some of these tips:

1. Pack Light for Short Trips

If you are only travelling for a night or two, consider packing light. Everything you need for a two-three day trip can fit within your carry-on. If you do not have any luggage to worry about, you can’t lose it.

With only a carry-on, everything you need will be secure. You can place it above you in the storage compartment, having access to it at all times. Instead of bringing an assortment of outfits, plan effectively at home. Bring only what you need and there will be no need to check any baggage at all.

2. Label Your Luggage

If you travel often, you probably already have a tag or two that displays your contact details. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so double up on your tags in two different sections of your bag. If one gets ripped off, you will have another tag displayed. As well, stick a label inside your luggage. 

Although you will get your bag returned to you, it may not be in time for your meeting. Make sure that any crucial items are on you at all times. A carry-on has a purpose, make sure you keep all necessities within reach.

3. Double Check the Code

Although the people checking your bag know what they’re doing, there is always room for human error. Perhaps you’re stopping over somewhere, so make sure that the code on your luggage displays your final destination.

Airport codes ensure that your luggage finds its way to the appropriate destination. If you are unfamiliar with airport codes, simply look up your destination code. Also, make sure that all pre-existing tags have been removed so that there is no confusion regarding other airports.

4. Choose a Direct Flight

If possible, book a direct flight. As soon as a connecting flight is involved, the room for error increases. Luggage can accidentally be left at the wrong airport. For example, your first flight may have been delayed and then your luggage does not make it onto the next one.

5. Stand Near the Front of the Carousel

Accidents happen and people grab the wrong bags. Many suitcases look highly similar, so it is not uncommon for someone to accidentally pick yours up thinking that it’s theirs. If you stand near the front, you can ensure that you visually see each bag that comes out.

If you think that someone has accidentally grabbed your bag, just politely ask if you can check that they have grabbed the right piece of luggage. In order to make your bag stand out, wrap a ribbon or strap around it. The brighter and more unique, the better.

6. Check Your Luggage Early

If you are travelling internationally, you should be checking your bags at least two hours before your departure. Bags that are checked last minute, may not make it through the security screening process. This will increase the chances that your luggage does not make it onto the plane at all.

 

What to do if Your Luggage is Lost

  1. Don’t Panic, Report It: If your bag does not appear at all, immediately report it to the airport. Although it can be a hassle, 90% of bags are returned to their rightful owner. If your bag is on the next plane, you could have it in a matter of hours. Have the airport staff look into your baggage ticket, that way they can track your luggage.
  2. Track Your Expenses: If you needed to go buy toiletries for instance, it is not uncommon to get reimbursed for them. Some airports will give you an upfront cash payment, just make sure that you keep all of your receipts.
  3. Contact Further Support: If the airlines will not accept responsibility, contact the Civil Aviation Authority, and they will advise you further. If you took out travel insurance, you may be able to make a claim regarding its contents.

It’s important to plan ahead, being proactive regarding lost luggage. If you take all the necessary steps, you will more than likely not have an issue. As mentioned, make sure anything that is essential to your business trip is on you at all times. Label up your luggage, check in early, and jazz up your bag. You have enough to focus on regarding business, lost luggage is the last thing you want added to your list. 

Photo credit: Flickr 

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