Track Your Lost Luggage With TrakDot

Imagine knowing where your bag is even when the airline doesn’t. That’s the idea behind TrakDot, a new tech gadget that combines a $50 device, a $12 subscription and a cellular data plan. Switch the gadget on, pack it in your luggage, and if your checked bag doesn’t appear, you can find it more quickly than the airlines can using GloboTrac’s website.

Via ArsTechnica:

If a bag doesn’t reach its intended destination, “the airlines don’t know where it is,” GlobaTrac CTO Joseph Morgan told Ars at the CES Unveiled event Sunday night. “If it ain’t where it’s supposed to be, they’ve lost it, they don’t know where it is. They will eventually find it, but that doesn’t give you peace of mind.”

A simple question remains unanswered: how do you recover your bag once you know where it is? You’ve still got to navigate the airlines recovery process, but perhaps you’ll sleep better (in your borrowed T-shirt) when you’re able to see exactly where your precious stuff is.

TrakDot goes to market in March. This traveler is sticking with traveling light enough to go carry on only.

[Photo Credit: TrakDot]

Lost Luggage Has A Season And It Is Here Now

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]

Photograph your luggage and its contents – Packing tip

Take pictures of your luggage as well as its contents prior to leaving the house. Store this photo as a file on your computer, and e-mail it to yourself.

You may also want to include a list of the items packed.

In case of lost or stolen luggage, you can retrieve this information from any internet point, and it may be helpful when reporting the loss — especially if you’ve lost something valuable.

[Photo: Flickr | dichohecho]

Airlines losing 3000 bags – every hour of every day

In 2009, the worlds airlines lost a whopping 25 million pieces of passenger luggage. That comes down to just under 3000 bags every hour of every day, all year long. These shocking statistics were published by SITA – one of the operators of airline and airport computer systems, using data from the World Traver luggage database.

SITA breaks down the reasons behind bags not arriving at their destination:

  • During aircraft transfers – 52%
  • Failed to load – 16%
  • Ticketing error / bag switch / security / other – 13%
  • Airport / customs / weather / space-weight restriction – 6%
  • Loading / offloading error – 7%
  • Arrival station mishandling – 3%
  • Tagging error – 3%

There is some good news though – 96.6% of all bags do manage to reach their owner – eventually. This still leaves over 800,000 bags that end up going unclaimed. Bags that never arrive are often simply abandoned by their owners, or fall victim to theft at the airport. After six months, all unclaimed bags are donated, sold or destroyed.

The real good news is that airlines have managed to lose fewer bags. Compared to 2008, airlines managed to decrease lost bag numbers by 23.8%. Of course, part of this is due to decreasing passenger numbers, but the worldwide decline in air travel was just 2.9%.

Bottom line is that airlines are investing heavily in luggage management, and even though they may never reach a perfect score, the current trend is very positive one – and one that will benefit everyone that checks bags. Of course, as luggage fees have started increasing, it is also refreshing to see that airlines are actually doing something with all that new money.

Don’t forget to follow our tips on keeping your luggage safe at the airport!