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Preparing for the Unexpected: Travel Baggage Tips

- December 13, 2017 by Dan Heinen, ASP (View all posts by Dan)

Employees who travel frequently probably have the details about their travel down to a science. But when employees who travel on the spur of the moment or just travel for a rare seminar, they may not have such an easy time preparing for their flight and dealing with all the hassles of travel.  Travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Unfortunately, travel stress may reduce productivity and performance in an employee.

Recently I had a unique experience on a cross-country flight for work. I had arrived at my departing airport early, received my boarding pass, got through security and to my departure gate. I was then informed that this particular airline had overhead bins that would not accommodate standard carry-on luggage and I had to check my bag. Not a problem – my bag is checked, flight lands, I get my bag and proceed to my next leg. However, I get to my connecting flight and, while I was in line to board, it was announced that all the overhead bins are full and some passengers will have to check their bags. This scene repeated itself on both of the return flights.

Now, it wasn’t an issue because my bag arrived in the same condition and nothing was missing. But it got me to thinking – what if that wasn’t the case? I had no ID tags, and nothing to indicate my bag at the baggage claim or jet way (since it was a carry-on I didn’t figure I would need any of these things).

When I think about the possible time, energy and stress I could have spent to recover my bag and/or damages, I begin to think about loss productivity. If my bag had been lost, I would have endured three days of meetings with nothing but the clothes on my back. My lost bag would have been a major distraction, resulting in a much less productive employee. Even if my bag would have made it there and not back, the same stressful issues would have to be addressed once I returned home (i.e. contacting the airline, my employer, etc.).

Airline Baggage Tips

The following should help you avoid many of the common problems that passengers have with carry-on or checked luggage. For those that don’t fly too often, here are my lessons learned:

  • Carry essential items in a smaller backpack or bag that you can stow under your seat. This way if something does happen you will at least have those items.
  • Place an ID tag both inside and attach it outside your carry-on bag. This way if you have to check it, and something happens to it the airlines can contact you.
  • Only use a TSA approved lock on your bag once through security. If you have to check your bag it will at least have that measure of protection.
  • Customize the look of your bag to help you easily identify it. Many bags look the same, so customizing yours with items such as a colored ribbon or tape would make it easier to spot. Since I always carry a handkerchief I was able to tie to the handle to help me locate my bag much easier.
  • All these are pretty much standard for checked bags, but can be helpful if you find yourself in the above situation. When you have to travel, think ahead of time and try to plan for those unexpected hiccups that may occur. Do you have any travel baggage tips? Feel free to share them below.

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