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Thinking of checking a bag?....

Just one example of what can go wrong. It happened to my niece.

Original itinerary was SEA-CDG-ATH

On the day of the flight, it got revised to SEA-SFO-MUC-ATH

Despite 3+ hrs at SFO the bag did not make the SFO-MUC flight.

Two weeks later upon return to SEA, was told to call 'lost and found' at Berlin airport, as that apparently is where it was last known ( suspected? ) to be.

If one chooses to check a bag, a tracker of some sort deserves consideration these days.

Posted by
2775 posts

I was looking at the apple air tags, but I’m not really sure how they help. Say I fly from Chicago with a connection in London to Austria. I land in Austria and my bag is not there. I track it and find it’s in London. How does that help me who is now in Austria without my luggage?

Posted by
7061 posts

How does that help me who is now in Austria without my luggage?

You contact the lost and found at the London Airport and if they have the bag they can forward it to you where you are in Austria. If you are moving around to different places in Austria it would be more difficult and you may have to have it rerouted to your home airport in Chicago. You may have to replace what you need to get by and file a claim when you return home. Having an airline lose your luggage is always a pain in the patootie but at least if you know where it is, you have some recourse.

Posted by
11392 posts

It was a single ticket, but I think it involved two airlines. ( not know which ones)

Posted by
1259 posts

If one chooses to check a bag, a tracker of some sort deserves consideration these days.

Before investing in Apple AirTags or similar products, be sure to look up the current chatter about using them to track luggage. And be sure you have the chops for learning how to use them and then practice how to use the Find My... app on your iPhone to locate the tag.

There are plenty of helpful AirTag stories out there but just as many horror stories on this topic, too. Just because your bag has a tracker on it, and maybe you can even hear it beeping from within a baggage cage, doesn't mean you can actually get to it. And if the bag is moving through the conveyors, it won't tell you anything at all till it stands still within range of a current generation iOS phone. If it's at the bottom of stack of abandoned luggage in the fourth basement of a secure building, the AirTag, cool as it is, could be almost useless.

https://9to5mac.com/2022/07/14/airtags-in-baggage/
https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/air-canada-traveller-uses-airtag-to-track-lost-baggage-for-5-days-1.5987921
https://www.cnn.com/cnn-underscored/travel/travel-apple-airtags
https://thepointsguy.com/news/bag-tracking-apple-airtag/
https://9to5mac.com/2021/05/03/airtags-for-checked-baggage/

Posted by
6788 posts

Pretty sure that the only airline that flies SEA-CDG-ATH (the original ticket) would be Delta, or Air France/KLM. Delta/Air France are the only airline(s) with a nonstop from SEA to CDG.

But if they re-routed to SEA-SFO-MUC-ATH, then that doesn't make sense. Given the different routing, that would almost certainly be United/Lufhansa (only they fly SFO-MUC nonstop).

Maybe the original routing had another connection domestically before the leg to CDG....that would be how United (and their partners) would route it.

Honestly, these days, if you're flying to Europe from most places in the US and you do NOT have a nonstop to Europe, you're changing planes and will likely be on (at least) two different airlines. It's hard to avoid that from many places.

The value of nonstop flights has gone up this year. It has always been better to avoid connections if you can, now the stakes are higher.

Just because your bag has a tracker on it, and maybe you can even hear
it beeping from within a baggage cage, doesn't mean you can actually
get to it.

Indeed, simply telling someone where you think your bag is doesn't mean they're going to do anything about it. Trackers or no trackers, you are at the mercy of the bag handling folks.

Posted by
5258 posts

Hi Joe,
Sorry that happened to your niece.

Did she get any assistance when she called the Berlin airport?

I hope she enjoyed her trip despite this mishap.

Posted by
5042 posts

Even planning to only do carry on is no guarantee. My daughter is enroute from Vancouver to Lima Peru today. Carryon was fine on the first leg, but at SFO she had to gate check her bag, and it's tagged thru to Lima. But the next leg is to LAX before her final flight. She's a bit nervous, but had the sense to cram a couple of clothes changes into her personal item.

Posted by
14163 posts

CJean, I hope she gets her bag! Why did they make her gate check? Too big, too heavy, too many other bags? Or did she even get told a reason?

Posted by
5042 posts

Pam- there was an equipment change, to a smaller aircraft. Not enough room for all the carry ons.

A “Defensive Packing Tactic” could be to travel with a “disposable” bag. That is, use a cheap or old piece of luggage and only pack items that are not an issue to oneself if lost (Example: older, cheaper clothing. Small toiletries, etc.). Carry on the maximum allowed by your airline. Then, if your bag is lost - get briefly miffed, then be done with it. Better than having to stress out over a lost bag. If you can recover it - fine. But if not, life goes on with little consequence.
Sorry about niece having to deal with lost luggage. My comment is only a suggestion for future consideration.

Posted by
5042 posts

Pam- just an update. She arrived this morning in Lima and so did her bag. So Yay, she only has to deal with jet lag.

Posted by
11392 posts

If anyone is curious, my niece reports her bag is scheduled to be delivered to her home today.

Never had it on the trip, but she and it are being reunited.

No info on where its been for the past 2+ weeks.

Posted by
3200 posts

“Defensive Packing”.......I like it, Sun-Baked!

Posted by
14163 posts

CJean…so happy they wound up there at the same time!!

Joe…I hope the bag has stories to tell…!

Posted by
3961 posts

-joe32f, good to hear your niece & bag will be reunited! This story reminds me of 2014 starting in Rome. A gal on our Southern Italy/ Sicily Tour didn’t get her luggage returned until long after she returned home. She had flown from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada-Montreal-Italy. I believe the bag ended up back in Montreal. Fortunately she packed an extra shirt and a couple other items in her personal carryon bag. Still not enough for almost 3 weeks. The two of us went shopping in Positano at a wonderful boutique. She bought an outfit, pj’s, & another pair of shoes. Not a problem, lots of sink washing along the way. Have to say, she never complained!! It all worked out. We are still friends and will never forget our wonderful journey!

Posted by
18544 posts

Waiting for a checked bag that never makes it onto the carousel at
arrival is one of the most dreaded parts of flying. More than 684,000
bags were mishandled in the first quarter of 2022, according to data
from the Air Travel Consumer Reports published by the Department of
Transportation. That’s roughly seven bags out of every 1,000 handled
that are earmarked as lost baggage.

The Points Guy

I watched YouTube videos today on the transfer of checked luggage. It’s an amazing process. The checked item goes on a long, winding roller coaster ride from the ticket counter to the transfer cart to the airplane. The tracking tape placed on the bag is essential. Large airports like Atlanta process 80,000 - 100,000 bags per day!