The five ways in which baggage gets lost

It happens to thousands of travellers every day. They arrive at their destinations, while their baggage does not. During the days – and sometimes – weeks that follow a loss, you can do nothing but hope that the whereabouts of your baggage can be traced so that the airline can return your luggage.

You might be without your suitcase for days, or even weeks, and you might never even see it again. How does this happen?

  1. The paper baggage tag gets damaged or removed from your suitcase. Without a baggage tag, it is virtually impossible for the airline to return baggage to its owner, unless a baggage label is  fixed to the suitcase.
  2. The barcode on the paper baggage tag expires. After three days, barcodes on baggage tags expire and are reused for new passengers.
  3. The barcode cannot be automatically scanned. Your baggage must be manually processed and there is a good chance of it missing the flight.
  4. Your suitcase gets loaded onto the wrong plane.
  5. The wrong destination code is used. The ever-friendly ground staff lady concentrates a little too hard on finding you a good seat and, still smiling all the way, she enters the wrong destination code for your baggage.

Lost baggage is destroyed after 3 to 6 months, or ends up being sold at one of the many suitcase auctions that take place worldwide.