What makes some travellers decide to plastic-wrap their entire luggage?

But will travellers properly dispose of and recycle their plastic

Locating your luggage on the carousel isn’t always easy. How many times have you waited only to see someone else trying to pick up your bag thinking it is theirs or making this mistake yourself? So many bags look the same.

Although we wouldn’t be seen dead with a bright white suitcase, you can see why some people go for more obscure-looking bags so they differ from others, making them easier to pick off the carousel. Another option is to add a distinguishable tag, mark or tie an obvious band around each bag.

However, there are some travellers who completely shrink wrap their luggage in plastic. And, worse, there are companies who have setup to offer this service.

Why is it happening? The main reason is to add a layer of protection. Bag handlers do not always handle luggage with care. Their job is to get bags on and off the plane as efficiently as possible. We’ve seen situations where these handlers grab your bag off the plane and throw it into the container to take back to the terminal. Here at Short Motivation, we had a quality suitcase suffer from a broken wheel as the bag had clearly been thrown and taken the entire weight on one wheel, smashing the connection completely.

Frankly, a bag handler might recognise top quality luggage, but it doesn’t mean they’ll treat it any different from the others. That Luis Vuitton bag you’ve just bought, which is now in the hold, won’t be cared for any more or less than a $50 case from the local hypermarket.

Another reason we hear in support for plastic-wrapping bags is to deter thieves from making an opportunist attempt to open your bag and look inside. If the wrapping has to be removed first, then most people will move on to an easier bag they can open. One thing it doesn’t do, however, is stop the likes of the TSA from opening a plastic-wrapped bag. If their detectors find something that makes them curious, the wrapping will be removed immediately. It will not be re-wrapped by the TSA post-inspection.

You have to ask yourself though, why on earth would someone spend hundreds of dollars on Louis Vuitton luggage, simply for it to be plastic-wrapped through its journey? Surely the entire point of buying this luggage is to be seen by your side as you think it reflects your personality.

Luckily for you, airports are now plastic-wrapping in the terminal, before you check-in your bag. Seal & Go, TrueStar, and Secure Wrap offer the facility across the United States including Miami, JFK and Houston. The plastic used is classed as environmentally friendly, non-toxic and 100 per cent recyclable. However, where you put all your plastic from your wrapped luggage is another question which needs answering.

Seal & Go has released a video of the sealing process which you can watch below.

We’re not convinced by the use of so much plastic – even plastic which can be recycled easily as we’re not sure finding a recycling bin will be a traveller’s number one option once they land at their destination airport. Our guess is this will be removed at the hotel and then left for room services to dispose of, without them realising it’s recyclable plastic.

Wrapping your bag costs between $15-20 per bag, but remember it’s only the outer casing that’s wrapped. The wheels could be ignored, so if you encounter a situation where your bag is thrown wheel-first into a container, like ours, plastic-wrapping won’t solve this potential issue.


About Author

The co-founder of Short Motivation, Chris originates from a technology background, initially developing software and then migrating to the international magazine industry for the last 15 years. The idea for Short Motivation came from travelling through 2011 and eventually became reality six years later, in 2017.