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You Didn’t Make It to St. Louis, but Your Bags Did. Here’s What to Do.

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To scale back mishandling, tuck in loose straps that may get tangled with machinery or one other bag and veer off target. Remove any bar code stickers or checked luggage tags from previous trips.

Luggage that could appear lost may need been taken by accident by someone with an analogous bag, especially if it’s a black, wheeled carry-on, essentially the most common bag, said Kevin Larson, the Alaska Airlines manager of central baggage services. The bags also could be on one other carousel. Mr. Larson advises passengers to place something unique, like a colourful ribbon, on the skin of their bag. A shiny luggage tag, stickers or reflective tape also could make a suitcase stand out.

In case your luggage doesn’t arrive if you do, notify the airline before you permit the airport. Getting in contact by phone has been difficult through other luggage crises.

The Department of Transportation recommends passengers avoid packing items of their checked bags which are precious, fragile, perishable or irreplaceable, and allows airlines to specify forms of items they won’t cover in the event that they are lost like money, jewelry, computers, art objects, antiques and collectibles. Keep those with you or leave them at home. Put vital medications in your carry-on.

Placing a small tracking device like a Tile or Apple AirTag inside your luggage enables you to monitor the bag’s whereabouts via a phone app. “It’s in regards to the same cost as checking one bag,” said Mr. Cox at Breeze Airways. Trackers are especially useful for locating if someone mistakenly took your bag off the carousel as a substitute of their very own.

Some airlines, including United, American and Delta Air Lines, offer baggage tracking capabilities for passengers via the carrier’s website or mobile app.

The Department of Transportation lists the rules that airlines must follow when luggage is delayed or lost. Probably the most that an airline can owe a passenger is $3,800 per bag. Flights with a world leg fall under different rules and essentially the most a passenger will receive is about $1,800.

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