Lost Luggage Has A Season And It Is Here Now

lost luggage

Lost luggage was once a major problem for airlines but they have been doing better lately. Perhaps with the introduction of fees for checked bags, airlines are paying more attention to what happens to luggage. Maybe it’s those fees that are driving airline passengers to pack less, carry on more and give airlines less to lose. Whatever the reason, lost luggage is less of an issue than it once was for air travelers – for the most part. Still, there are some airlines that do a better job than others and, apparently, a time of the year when lost luggage reports peak.

A recent study by NerdWallet notes, “regional airlines mishandle luggage at significantly higher rates than average.” Those regional airlines include carriers like like ExpressJet, Mesa, and SkyWest. Better known airlines line American, Delta, US Airways and others, have a better report card.

The problem is that those smaller, regional airlines often operate flights for larger carriers, which equals more lost luggage. Also a problem: the holiday travel period between now and January.According to the NerdWallet survey, reports of lost, mishandled, damaged, delayed or stolen luggage spikes during this time as more travelers take to the air.

Looking to minimize the chances of a bad luggage experience? NerdTraveler suggests when traveling with someone else, split valuables into multiple carry-on bags to reduce the odds of losing important papers, documents and other items. Booking direct flights to minimize the airline handling of your luggage can help too.

Another good idea is to take smartphone photos of your luggage and its contents. That goes a long way towards a happy claim when luggage is lost or damaged. Finally, know the airline’s policy on reimbursement. Airlines commonly exclude personal items like electronics, photography equipment, things made of glass and more.



[Photo Credit: Flickr user puregin]

Lost Baggage Finds A Home On New Reality Series

baggageWhen we think of travel baggage, we often think of fees, checkins, carry-ons, overhead storage and the hope that it arrives with us at our final destination. We watch video of baggage handlers misbehaving at work and wonder why we pay so much to check it. When soldiers returning from war are charged extra for it, we’re outraged. But what about when baggage goes missing? It’s a topic that is often infuriating and sometimes mysterious.

On the Travel Channel’s new reality series “Baggage Battles,” we get a peek behind the scenes into the world of auction specialists earning a living off bidding, buying and reselling lost luggage.

Sort of along the lines of A & E’s Storage Wars, they travel to different airport auctions around the world where we see what happens to the 70,000 pieces of luggage that go unclaimed or get lost every year.

“Baggage Battles” features three teams of auction specialists that compete to see who buys baggage filled with valuable treasure or worthless junk.

  • Laurence and Sally Martin, a married couple from California has been in the antique business for over 20 years.
  • Mark Meyer, 25, still lives at home with his parents and is a young entrepreneur from Long Island, New York.
  • Billy Leroy, also from New York, was 25 when he bought a $200 painting and sold it for $18,000.

They visit more than airports too, stopping at customs auctions, police auctions and freight auctions bidding on seized merchandise in different venues.”With dozens of auctions to visit, thousands of bags to explore and millions of dollars at stake, these auction specialists need both skill and luck to hit the jackpot,” says the Travel Channel on the “Baggage Battles” website. “They don’t know if it’s junk or a jackpot until they win the bid and open the suitcase.”

Baggage Battles” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the Travel Channel.




[Flickr photo via Canolais]

Gadling gear review: Hummingbird Carry-on Zip

The Hummingbird Carry-on Zip duffel bagPicking the right bag to carry with us on our travels can be almost as important as selecting the items we put inside of it. Our baggage must be versatile, rugged, distinctive, and now days, easily fit inside an overhead compartment. The Carry-on Zip from Hummingbird meets all of those criteria, and then some, providing travelers with a simple, but very useful, bag for active excursions. Especially ones involving water.

Before getting into what the Carry-on Zip brings to the table, it is important to understand what it doesn’t. In terms of design, this is most definitely a no-frills, minimalist bag. There aren’t a lot of pockets – in fact there is just one large 40-liter compartment – and the bag doesn’t have wheels or feature a retractable handle. It is, for all and intents and purposes, a simple duffel bag.

But to call the Carry-on Zip “just a duffel bag” is to greatly underestimate its value for travelers. This bag is designed for those that prefer to travel light and are looking for something they can take with them anywhere they go. Made from a tough, but flexible, vinyl material, the Carry-on Zip takes a beating without showing the wear and tear that comes from frequent travel, and its large, comfortable shoulder straps make it a cinch to carry, even when packed to the brim with gear. Those same straps can be easily adjusted to wear the bag like a backpack, and its single, cavernous, compartment has plenty of room to store everything you need for weekend escapes, or even week long adventures.

The vinyl material that makes the Carry-on Zip such a tough, durable travel option also makes the bag waterproof as well. Hummingbird has matched those materials with heavy duty zippers that when locked into place, they seal the bag up tight, keeping everything inside safe from the elements. The waterproofing is so good in fact, that I recently carried this bag on a trip to the Virgin Islands, where I spent my days snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing the beautiful ocean waters there. Thanks to the Carry-on Zip, I was able to take my camera, cell phone, and laptop with me where ever I went, without fear of damaging those expensive items within. On more than one occasion, I found myself wading into chest and neck deep waters to meet a waiting boat, and each time this bag kept my gear completely dry. It was very reassuring to know that I could trust this pack with my most fragile gear, even while swimming in the Caribbean.As the name implies, this bag was designed to carry-on any flight, and it does indeed store nicely overhead. But upon returning from the Islands, circumstances dictated that I check the bag on my return home. Waiting at the baggage carousel as the luggage was unloaded from the flight, I discovered another great feature of this bag – it is very easy to spot in a crowd. The distinctive bright yellow coloring and unique shape of the Carry-on Zip allowed me to identify it from a distance and grab and go very quickly. That might not be a feature on the manufacturers spec sheet, but being able to quickly pick-out your bag from the sea of other luggage is greatly appreciated, especially when you’re not use to waiting for the airline to offload it in the first place.

Hummingbird designed the Carry-on Zip to be highly packable in its own right. That means that while it may not be your primary bag on an extended trip, it can still be taken along very easily. This is piece of gear that is highly useful in a variety of situations ranging from a simple day at the beach to an extended kayaking excursion through remote regions of the world. The waterproof nature of this bag makes it very unique and useful for adventure travelers and beach combers alike, and with a price tag of just $149.95, it is affordable enough to add to your gear closet without breaking the bank.

The Carry-on Zip certainly isn’t for everyone, but anyone who spends a decent amount of time in or around water will definitely appreciate what this bag has to offer. Paddlers, surfers, and scuba divers will especially find it valuable, although I think plenty of other travelers will as well.

Powerbag – part bag, part portable power source

Powerbag mobile powered luggage

The Holiday season may be over, but that shouldn’t stop you from paying attention to gift ideas (for yourself). If one of your New Years resolutions is to travel without landing at your destination with an empty iPad or phone, then we recommend checking out the assortment of bags from Powerbag. Their lineup covers everything from a basic sling, to a complete mobile office on wheels.

Now, a variety of luggage is definitely not newsworthy on its own, and what makes these bags worthy of a mention here is that they all come with an integrated power source. Inside each of the bags is a powerful battery pack, integrated battery indicator and power switch and a water resistant AC charger port. Pack your bag, then pop your tablet, phone, headset or other devices inside and plug them in.

The built in battery pack is rated at 6000mAh, which is more than enough to charge a phone 4-5 times, or charge multiple devices at the same time. The system includes power tips for Apple, MiniUSB and MicroUSB, though a regular USB port also allows you to use your own cable. Best of all, Powerbag will gladly sell you a second battery pack in a higher or lower capacity.

The bags start at $139.99 and are available directly from the manufacturer or a variety of (online) retailers. We’ll try and get a full review up on Gadling as soon as we can.

Your bag’s perspective from Atlanta to New York

Ever wonder what happens to your bag after you send it down the tunnel behind the gate agent at the airport? I was always under the impression that it was handled by a series of Oompa-Loompas who gently carry your bags from point A to point B on their heads, quietly singing the song of the baggage handler as glitter falls from the sky.

Apparently that’s not the case. The kind folks over at Delta Air Lines just released a video detailing a bag’s journey through the inner workings of Atlanta (ATL) and then over to New York City. To capture the film they strapped six cameras onto a package and sent it through the system, from the conveyor belts to the baggage trucks to the belly of the plane. Though the footage is ultimately an ad for their baggage tracking app, it’s still an interesting perspective.