One of the most frustrating aspects of airline travel is waiting for your bags after deplaning. There’s often no rhyme or reason when your bag will appear. We’ve often checked two bags at exactly the same time, only to find these bags appear within 20 minutes of each other – how is that even possible?
Travel on a premium seat and you’re supposed to get priority baggage delivery at the carousel. Your bags are giving a priority tag and are supposed to be the ones which are taken off first. Sadly this isn’t a guarantee, either. Some airports simply ignore priority luggage, especially if it’s an airline which doesn’t have a major presence at their airport.
Even with a premium delivery service, land late and there might not be available staff to get the bags off the plane in the first place. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve been one of the first to step off the plane, breezed through immigration to find that, 45 minutes later, we’ve still not received our bags. So frustrating. We’ve been close to missing connecting flights over bag delivery delays.
So, is there a way of guaranteeing your bag will always be one of the first to appear, irrespective of your travel class?
One secret is to tell the airline representative at check-in that your bag has fragile content and ask them to stick an official ‘fragile’ badge to your bag. This means that the airline baggage team will load your bag last and bags that are last to be stowed are nearly always the ones which are unloaded first.
Of course, don’t go down your local stationery store and buy any old fragile tape or sticker. Airline staff will often ignore this unless it’s an official airline label, so you need to make sure the check-in staff will do this for you (if at all). An additional bonus may include the bag handling staff being a little more gentle when they throw your luggage on and off the plane.
Another option is to simply be the last person to check-in. If you’re the last in the queue, your bag will be loaded on to the plane late and nearly always be one of the first to be taken off the plane. There’s a downside here that this means you might end up rushing through security and being late for your departure or miss the flight entirely.
The last tip is to take a large cabin bag, one which would normally fit into cabin storage at a push, but ask before boarding whether this can be loaded in to hold, rather than loaded in the cabin. If the plane is full, the crew will always look for volunteers to give up their luggage to go in the hold and you can prepare for this in advance. There’s another key advantage, too. Your luggage will often be ready for you when you get off the plane, by the plane door, rather than in the baggage reclaim area.