Ever wonder what exactlyyour luggage encounters en route from your closet to the hotel? Our concerns stop (for the most part) when we hand our baggage off at the ticket counter. From there, the worry is how long the lines are at security, getting that last bathroom break in, or hoping you’re not seated next to a talker. But what happens behind the scenes? Once your bag leaves your sight, the rodeo begins. Standard size luggage often makes its way across a series of conveyor systems. At larger airports this can be a maze of tracks and belts where automated pushers direct your bag from one conveyor to the next, and hopefully making its way to your flight. Should they have to loosen hanging straps or tags, don’t expect to get these back. Conveyors are infamous for taking hold of loose items and keeping them as tokens of the damage they can do. The use of conveyor systems has increased exponentially over the last few decades not only to reduce the manual labor of bag transporting, but as a security measure to protect against damage and loss. Is it working? A report by Frank Thomas in USA Today1 states that nearly 12,000 bags were reported to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) as lost or damaged in 2009 and that is down 50% from the number of reports in 2004. Equating this to dollars and cents, in 2004 TSA doled out $3.2 million dollars in claims and $343,000 dollars in 2009. However 3000 claims were still under review. After your bag leaves the covered climate controlled area of the airport conveyor system, then it’s out into the elements. This could range from blue skies, to rain and snow. Of course, your bag is protected inside the luggage transport carts, right? Think again. How many times have you sat in the comfort of your window seat aboard that 737 and watched a cart go by, rain coming down sideways, dirty tarmac water spraying up off the tires, and low-and-behold no one put down the protective curtain walls. Then it’s off to the ground-to-plane conveyor. If you’ve ever encountered grease stains or some other inexplicable lasting mark, this was likely the culprit. Conveyors have moving mechanical parts. Mechanical parts required lubrication. Lubrication means oils and grease which will undoubtedly find their way to the conveyors transport surface. Have you ever seen the cargo stowage area of a commercial jet airliner? Let’s just say that the cleaning crew that comes through the passenger area after every flight never makes its way down there. Never! Now, put the whole process in reverse and then calculate the odds of your bag making it back to you in the same shape as when you checked it in. Ok, so you might make it a flight or two without any catastrophes. But the more you fly, inevitability takes hold. Just imagine if you had to trade places with your checked luggage! Which is the exact reason you need quality Luggage Covers to protect your luggage.
The Truth About Luggage Handling
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011