Traveling today has become common for many people; whether it’s business or pleasure, you will find most airports a very busy place. When traveling by air, most likely you will need to check a bag or two; as the standard of carry-ons has diminished in size. So what really happens to the luggage from the time it leaves your possession? It’s a reality that might bring fear from the time it leaves your precious hands.

Beginning with the ticket counter, you should always make sure you have the proper identification on your luggage, inside and out. Tags on the outside often disappear, due to the luggage handlers or bag belts; as airports are fast paced and machines (behind the scenes) break down. Hopefully you never have to experience this, but it’s something one must face. Have you ever been waiting at a carrousel for the bags to come out… when suddenly a piece of luggage drops out of the conveyor belt opening with a torn zipper and all of the clothes are falling out!?  It can make you cringe. These are just a couple of reasons you should always have an ID stuck inside your bag.

Missing items in baggage is another growing problem. It’s sad, but beginning with TSA workers to baggage handlers, your luggage goes through several hands before it makes it to the aircraft. While every employee goes through an extensive background check, it’s unfortunate that some of the bad ones do slip through. So always, take your most valuable items and put them in your carry-on. If you made a purchase of significant value, it might pay for you to have it shipped home instead of chancing your checked bags. In the event you believe you’ve had something stolen from your bag, you must report it within 48 hours, preferably sooner. A slip of paper inside your luggage would mean that TSA inspected it; in that case, you would file a claim online with TSA; if there is no slip… then you would file it with the airline, and you may do so over the phone.

Now that we’ve discussed the possibility of missing items, what happens if your bag doesn’t appear on the luggage carrousel at all? This is a nightmare I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Your heart races and fear sets in; but don’t panic yet… sometimes it makes it on the wrong aircraft by mistake. It happens when a bag falls out of the loaded bag cart on the tarmac. It is one of those accidents that can be caused by a bumpy ride and sharp turns on the way to the plane. In this case, it will arrive on a different aircraft, and the airline will usually have it delivered to your door. There are specific employees that are trained to find your lost bags. I can honestly tell you that I worked in that field with an airline, and I always found the bags. Maybe I was just fortunate, but nevertheless, I took my job seriously. In the event a bag is never found, there is a huge warehouse in Scottsboro, Al. and is named the “Unclaimed Baggage Center.” You can find it online at and their number is (256) 259-1525. Hopefully you will never lose a piece of luggage, have anything missing, or severely damaged. May the travel Gods be with you… and always allow plenty of time when checking your personal items. Safe travels to all.

Make your week count.