I have been saying this for years. I have not checked any luggage in well over 20 years and for good reason! When my son was just a little guy, I managed to pack everything including the kitchen sink in a large suitcase for our trip to Sacramento to see friends. It was the first time I was taking my not quite two year old on an airplane for an extended vacation. We had to pack the usual clothes, and diapers, some toys and books, and of course his favorite videos, not to mention all of my stuff. Needless to say, this was not a carry on sized suitcase, so it was necessary to check it from my small hometown of Salisbury, MD, through our connection in Baltimore, MD, and continue on to Sacramento, CA. I had a carry on with me that contained some emergency toiletries, my wallet and a change of clothes, and toys for the kiddo, but that was about it. Well, I am sure you figured out by now where this is going. I arrived at my final destination but my luggage did not!! It took me 3 days to finally get my suitcase rerouted from somewhere in Connecticut with an airport code of SWF to Sacramento with an airport code of SMF. Maybe you see the problem here. Luckily, as inconvenient as it all was, I was eventually reunited with my luggage and all of our belongings. I don't know what I would have done had I lost all those expensive VHS tapes, ha ha!
Basically, my story had a happy ending, but that isn't the way for everyone. Many travelers have lost their luggage only to never see it again. This can become quite devastating to people who have possibly lost items of great monetary or sentimental value. Can you imagine being stuck somewhere because you have lost your passport or other identification that was in your luggage? Or possibly photographs or one of a kind gifts?
The first place someone heads when they don't see their familiar suitcase on the conveyor belt carousel is over to the Lost and Found area located discreetly out of sight from the baggage claim area. Of course there are lines to wait in, forms to fill out, questions to answer, and phone calls to be made. Quite the grueling process and not one I would like to do more than once in my life, if at all.
Now, instead of waiting an indefinite period of time for word about your lost luggage, there is a much better solution. It is appropriately named Airport Lost and Found, and it is an online service that is designed to match you up with your lost belongings. I recently had a reader alert me to this service after they successfully found her missing laptop case. You can file an online claim for free or search their database of lost property. Either way, Airport Lost and Found works with thousands of airports and airlines through state of the art technology to provide this much needed service of matching people to their lost luggage. Check out their website and "Like" them on Facebook.