Between the moment you check in your luggage and the one where you claim it at your travel destination, your bag will have passed through an entire maze of baggage carts and conveyor belts. And, once the checked luggage got in the air, it may have tumbled or slid around the cargo compartment during turbulence.
To be honest, there aren’t that many bags that get damaged or lost. (Well, unless you’re flying on Otopeni, I’ve seen piles of roll-on luggage here. And they even lost a cat once!) As long as you take proper precautions, your checked luggage should be among those bags that arrive safely.
Checked luggage packing tips
To avoid problems, here are some items that you should never pack in checked luggage:
- Cash, credit cards, cameras, jewelry, and other small valuables
- Passport, tickets, business papers
- Small fragile items, like your glasses
- Perishable goods
The things mentioned above should be packed in your carry-on or inside your personal bag. Keep in mind that this is the only way to keep your valuables safe from getting damaged, lost or stolen. And even if your checked luggage doesn’t get lost, it can arrive one or two days later than you. Therefore, it’s smart to pack your carry-on bag with items you intend to use on the first day of your arrival.
Pack your checked luggage the right way
Check the website of the airline company you’re flying with. There, look for the baggage allowance and see what their limits are regarding luggage size, weight or number. If you’re going to fly with more than one company, check restrictions for all your flights. Also, don’t assume that your flight will have enough space in the cabin for all carry-on bags: some bags may have to go in the hold.
If you intend to have electrical equipment, small appliances, glassware/pottery, musical instruments or other large fragile items, make sure they’re in special containers. The best ones are the ones they came in from the manufacturer. Another option is a padded hard-shell case. Tucked in one of these safe options, your fragile items should survive rough handling and arrive intact.
Checked luggage also has some limits to respect. On most flights, you shouldn’t have more than two checked bags. You may have to pay a fee if you bring more bags or if you have larger luggage than the limits the airline allows.
Also, don’t over-pack. This adds pressure on your bag’s latches and they can just pop open unexpectedly.
Prepare for the worst, while you hope for the best
Your checked luggage should have labels both on the inside and on the outside with your name, address, and phone number. Almost all baggage that airlines misplace turns up sooner or later. If you properly label your bag, they can get in touch with you easier and retrieve your belongings in a few hours.
If you shop for goodies at your travel destinations and wish to bring these items as carry-on on your return flight, keep in mind the limits mentioned above. However, if you add these items to your checked luggage, carry the receipts with you. If they break or lose those items, you can use the receipts to file a claim.