There are a few things that you should know
For anyone traveling anywhere, be it domestic or international; the idea that your travel luggage might not be on the baggage carousel when you arrive is a reality that everyone must come to terms with.
Travel luggage holds the keys to your existence when you venture out into the world. Your toiletries, clothes, accessories and even your under garments are all contained within the walls of this most precious piece of travel attire – your travel luggage.
What happens when this extension of yourself, this uniquely you piece of property goes missing? When the airline that you placed not only your trust in “but your travel luggage as well” loses your bag.
Before you start to overwhelm yourself with anxiety and stress there are a number of things to remember:
Be willing to lose it forever
Seems like an odd statement to make, when you pack your bags to go away anywhere whether it’s for business or pleasure you generally want to look your best and therefore you pack your best clothes. We’re not saying that you should pack those dreary old/last season outfits that you haven’t worn in the past year either, but when you’re packing your luggage for your trip just be willing to say goodbye to them forever.
It’s always good to have a spare
Most airlines allow you to take two reasonably sized carry on’s and this affords you with the opportunity to do a little disaster preparation. Always carry a spare outfit in your carry on just in case the airline does misplace your bag or it is just a day or two behind. At the very least keep an extra pair of underpants handy just in case.
Hold onto that piece of paper
There is an unwritten rule that we implement when traveling and it goes as follows: if the airline hands you a piece of paper, you keep that piece of paper. You don’t have to be quite as neurotic as that but make sure that you always have your baggage claim slip on hand. Store it in your wallet /purse /passport/sock or even under your hat if you have to, as long as you have access to it if you need it.
They don’t know that you don’t have your bag
If you do ever find yourself in the situation where you’re the last person standing at a baggage carousel and the belt has gone around and around for the past hour and you’ve lost all hope of ever seeing your belongings again. Remember that the airline has no idea that you haven’t received your bag yet. Go and report it to the baggage counter, if you’re lucky then your bag is already waiting for you or it is on another flight and they’ll be able to track it for you.
It might be your travel luggage but it’s not your problem
Always, always, always remember that it is the airlines responsibility to get your bag to you. It doesn’t matter if you’ve already returned home, are staying in a five-star hotel or if you are tracking the gorillas in the Congo, the airline is responsible for getting it back to you.
It’s just not the same anymore
Your luggage may have been found but it’s been through a lot. It has seen more countries than you because it flew from South Africa to Dubai via Singapore before having a three-week layover in Russia, it’s stressed, it’s traumatized and it’s jetlagged. More importantly it’s damaged and missing a few key items. Ensure that you contact the airline to tell them as soon as you receive it to inform them of the damage and the missing property.
Airlines know that they’re not perfect
The airlines know that they are going to lose bags, they’ve been losing bags for longer than they’ve been losing planes and are therefore much better prepared to deal with it when it happens. Airlines conform to international standards and are require to reimburse you for up to R1300 ($100) per day that you’re without your bag up to a maximum of 5 days. (which if you’re a South African could be millions in added revenue) If however, your bag is never found then the airline has liability cover that will payout upwards of R40’000 ($3000) to cover your lost goods.
Be smart when you shop
It doesn’t really matter where you’re going, why you’re going or how long you’re going for, the type of travel luggage that you purchase is extremely important. Buying a strong, safe and durable suitcase will save you a lot of unnecessary stress later on in life. Samsonite, Tumi, Lipault, American Tourister and Gregory are premium brands that offer amazing varieties of travel luggage and accessories that will last a lifetime and protect your goods when you travel.