Luggage safety concerns are at an all-time high, with lost luggage and theft amongst the top airline complaints. Not only is checked luggage unsafe, but carry-on as well. There are simple and easy measures to avoid becoming a victim.
First things first, you should always put the proper tags on your luggage. They should have your full name, address, and phone number. Lost luggage usually ends up in a room at the airport filled with other suitcases, so make sure you add a touch to yours that makes it easily describable over the phone to make it easier to locate. A bright ribbon tied to the handle does the trick quite nicely.
We have all been told that locks are not allowed on checked baggage, in case there is a suspicious article viewed by the x-ray that needs to be checked by a TSA agent. After large increases in luggage pilfering, TSA introduced locks which they approved, which could be opened in case of this event. However, it was discovered that TSA agents themselves were using the opportunity to steal from checked baggage!
The only thing we can do to efficiently combat pilfering and keep our luggage safe is to make it difficult. By making it harder and more time consuming for the thief to get into our luggage, we hopefully deter the attack altogether.
You can do this by taking some strong, thin ribbon and wrapping it around the loop holes of the zippers many times over. Make sure it’s a loud, noticeable and satiny ribbon as if to make the thief think twice before cutting it for no good reason.
Another good measure is wrapping your luggage in tape or plastic. Many airlines offer this service to not only protect your belongings, but to protect your nice luggage from stains or rips that often occur thanks to rough handling and getting caught on other luggage. There you already have two layers that make it more difficult for a potential thief handler to open your suitcase. They will inevitably move on to an easier target.
A good rule of thumb is if your luggage looks unimportant, it will probably be regarded as such. Choose to buy indistinct plain luggage that doesn’t call out unnecessary attention, and leave the monogrammed fancy stuff for your personal carry-on items. Expensive luggage just screams out “there’s money/jewelry/expensive clothes in here!” and begs to be opened.
Now, when at the arrival airport, make sure you keep an eye out for your luggage. Again, the importance of properly labeling and making your suitcase stand out to you is unquestionable. It is very easy for a thief to grab an indistinct black bag off the carousel and walk out with it, but it’s another story to try and walk out with your black bag adorned in pink ribbon tied all over the zippers and on the handles.
Vigilance is of the essence when it comes to luggage safety. Never leave your bag unattended, especially your carry on. Never check-in expensive items such as cameras or computers, and keep your valuables close to your body, like in a passport pouch. The safety of your luggage is up to you, and as long as you keep an eye out, you’ll protect yourself best.