Remote control luggage locator – imagine the possibilities

Things You Never Knew Existed is selling a product we never knew existed: a remote-control talking Luggage Locator.

On the one hand, this is great, especially for people who have black bags that all look alike. You see one coming, press the button, and watch and listen … is it lighting up? Did it repeat your pre-recorded message for 30 seconds continually? No? Then it’s not yours. Keep waiting.

The Luggage Locator runs on three AAA batteries and two button batteries, has six flashing LED lights and can be heard from up to 45 feet away.

On the other hand, the obvious downside of this product: That audio clip is going to be really annoying, no matter what you record. People all around in a 45 foot radius will hear the sound of your voice (or your kid’s voice, or whatever you decide to record) for 30 seconds on repeat. It’s almost like you’re forcing them to invade your privacy, which is kind of weird. Also, when they see who picks up the talking bag, that will stare at you, agog at the wonder of your outrageous dorkiness.

Still, there are uses for this that might make it worth it. For example, why not record “This is not your bag, you jerk!”? That way, if you see someone walking out with a bag and you think they’ve got yours, you can press it and freak them out. Another possibility: Record “Unload me first!” and press it while you’re waiting at the carousel. If your bag is close by on the trolley, perhaps the airport employee unloading bags will oblige you. “Hey airport man, you sure are handsome,” might also work. Unless it’s a lady.

Frankly, there are a lot of uses for this thing outside of the airport, as well: messing with your cat, confusing your children, practical jokes on your spouse or significant other … this may actually be totally worth the $14.98.

[via Switched]

Airlines told to cough up the cash on lost luggage

The Transportation Department is getting serious about lost luggage reimbursement. The department has told airlines that they can’t set arbitrary limits on reimbursement for the bags they lose – or items that they have to replace because of delays. Several airlines, the DOT says, will only pay for necessities that passengers buy more than 24 hours after they hit the ground without their bags. And, they limit their willingness to pay to outbound trips. So, if you’re on your way home, you may get stuck with the tab.

The fed’s regs put the airlines on the hook for up to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights for expenses resulting from lost or delayed luggage.

The Transportation Department is going to monitor the situation for 90 days, it says, then take enforcement steps against airlines that don’t play ball. One airline, the DOT disclosed, was fined last month for only footing the bill on outbound trips and only for items bought after that first 24-hour window after passengers landed.



Lose your luggage? It could be on the internet. sounds like either a great website for people who’ve lost their luggage to watch for their missing belongings, or like a black market scam where bad guys might steal your luggage and then sell it to you for ransom online.

It is neither. It’s an art project. What kind of art? The creepy kind.

Ever wonder what happens to unclaimed luggage? The airport and airline will try and find the owner for a little while, but if they can’t, they just donate the whole thing to a charity auction. So, if your suitcase is accidentally sent to say, Botswana instead of Boston, and the airline can’t figure out what happened, your tennis shoes and undies could be sold to the highest bidder.

The artist behind attends these auctions. Are you putting this together yet?

The artist (not sure whether “”lunalaboo” at gmail is a man or a woman) cracks the suitcases, photographs the contents, and posts it all online. You can contact the artist if you think the stuff is yours.

Says lunalaboo:

“I go to these auctions and buy the cases so I can photograph them for my weird voyeuristic passion. The reason for the web site? I would really like to try to find the people who own my suitcases, so if you have any friends who have lost a case please get them to have a look.”


“It’s a little odd but not as odd as stamp collecting.”

We beg to differ. And we don’t know whether to thank you or scold you, lunalaboo. We looked in one of the cases on the site and it totally gave us the heebie jeebies.

42 million bags mishandled, more than 1 million lost for good

Airlines around the world now have their incompetence measured! The same companies that get irritated when you try to carry on everything you own mishandled (i.e., lost) 42 million pieces of luggage in 2007, according to the Air Transport Users Council (AUC). This is an unbelievable increase from the 2006 level of 34 million and 30 million in 2005. Making matters worse, 1.2 million were “irretrievably lost” in 2007.

Not only are the raw numbers increasing, the rate of stupidity is accelerating. The amount of mishandled luggage grew 13.3 percent from 2005 to 2006. From 2006 to 2007, it sped up to 25.3 percent. Clearly, the airlines are getting better at being worse.

But, why should we dwell on the past when we can fear for the future instead? AUC worries that the number of bags mishandled could reach 70 million a year by 2019, based on forecasts of a 100 percent increase in the number of passengers flying annually over the coming decade.

With all this mayhem, there’s one thing you can count on: not being reimbursed fairly for your lost bags. The AUC says that passengers were not compensated appropriately “on too many occasions” because they did not have receipts for the items inside. Let this be a lesson to you. When you buy that new shirt, put the receipt in your suitcase – likewise for your hat, gloves, shoes and cell phone. This is clearly the only place where you’ll need them.

Oh, wait! Don’t put the receipts in your suitcase! Your suitcase will probably get lost! Stash them in your favorite carry-on instead.

Airlines losing less of our baggage – for the wrong reasons

Here is (what should be) a great piece of news from the aviation world – domestic US carriers are losing fewer of our bags.

A staggering 1.3 million bags were not lost when compared to statistics from the previous year.

Normally, airlines would have a good reason to be proud of this result. It could be because they are paying more attention to their baggage procedures, or simply that their staff are learning to be more respectful of our belongings, but sadly, the reason they are losing less luggage has a far more logical explanation.

People are not checking as many bags.

The airlines, in their infinite wisdom decided that checking a bag is a luxury that should be sold to us, in addition to our ticket fee.

Too many passengers refuse to pay this fee, so as more people drag all their luggage on board the plane, fewer bags have to be placed in the baggage hold. It all makes perfect sense.

American Airlines was the clear winner with a 26% improvement over 2007. But of course, American Airlines was also the first of the major carriers to introduce the pay-to-check baggage scheme.

Eventually, the whole thing will probably come back and bite the airlines in the ass. As more people carry more stuff on to the plane, departure times will get delayed, flight attendants will have to spend more time finding space for bags that don’t fit in the overhead compartment, and passengers will still get their bags checked for free when the crew have to do a gate check for any bags that can’t be stored in the cabin.