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Learning From Terminal 5 - Tips To Ensure You're Reunited With Lost Luggage

Apr 17, 2008
Heathrow's brand new, shiny Terminal 5 has had a rough time since it opened. The Terminal 5 baggage scandal has seen thousands of pieces of luggage separated from their owners, and even now at the time of writing there are an estimated 20,000+ pieces of lost baggage still at large. It will take a week to see through this backlog, and I don't blame those affected by the situation for being slightly nervous as to whether they see their possessions again. The smart ones will have arranged their baggage travel insurance beforehand, so should have little to worry about - but often financial reimbursement is less important than the unique items lost, so it's no substitute.

Although this may seem like shutting the barn doors after the horses have bolted, there are steps you can take to make sure you are reunited with lost luggage should it go walkabouts. If you follow these tips, you should be sure your luggage is that bit more safe the next time technology fails us in the way it has with Terminal 5's baggage crisis.

1. Sort Your Baggage Travel Insurance

This one should be obvious, but if your lost luggage is irrecoverable, then it's time for your baggage travel insurance provider to foot the bill. As ever, read the small print to ensure you're covered, and be aware that some 'bargain travel insurance' providers will have taken out lost baggage cover from their budget policies to reduce costs!

2. Take an Inventory

If you keep an inventory on you of every item packed in your luggage, then you will have evidence of what was packed should your baggage be lost. It's not proof of the contents, but if you have proof of ownership elsewhere, these should combine to provide goof corroborative evidence of loss.

3. Tag it up!

Tag up all your bags (including ones going on the plane with you in case you check them at the last minute!) with leather of plastic tags listing your name and phone number. Make sure you also remove all the old destination tags to prevent unnecessary confusions when dealing with your baggage.

4. Let your itinerary guide your lost luggage

Place a copy of your itinerary within your suitcases. If someone finds your lost luggage while you're away, the baggage might beat you back home!

5. Put your details everywhere

Put your contact information on everything you carry with you - cameras, mobile phones, ipods - it's not just lost luggage you need to worry about, and if you forget any of these on the plane, then it will be easy for them to be reunited with you.

6. Double check the tags!

It sounds obvious, but check to ensure the tag on your bag is for the same place as where you're headed. Ensure that the luggage tags and the number of items checked is correct. Above all, keep your tags in a safe place and don't lose them - they're your receipt and will be essential when it comes to claiming lost luggage!

7. Exchange details as soon as you see your baggage is lost

If your luggage appears to missing and doesn't appear in the claim area, find a baggage agent immediately. Try to find out if your luggage appeared on an earlier flight, and if they are not in the holding area, fill out the lost baggage forms. Give your phone number and take theirs to make follow up calls.

On top of these seven tips, there's some additional things you can do to make sure your journey is even smoother: Tie a brightly colored ribbon to your bag to ensure it doesn't get taken by mistake, fasten your zips securely and remember that taking that early flight may leave you waiting for your luggage at the other end - even if you're not relying on Terminal 5 for the baggage!
About the Author
Patrick Chong is the Managing Director of Journey's Travel. Their commercial travel insurance website, Insuremore, offers bargain travel insurance packages for families, singles, children and skiers with free cover against acts of terrorism and a quick and easy online claims feature.
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