More often than not, the one thing you want to do more than anything after your plane lands is getting to your destination. Unfortunately, unless you’re on a really short trip or have packing superpowers like this woman and can fit everything into a carry-on and a personal-sized bag, you have to wait for your luggage to arrive at baggage claim before you can finally leave the airport.
First, you have the wait until the conveyor belt starts moving and then you have to wait for your bag to make it out. It always seems like the more anxious you are to get your stuff, the longer it takes for it to finally come out (although Delta & Alaska will pay you if their bags are late in getting to you. Well, unless they use one of their loopholes).
However, there are a few tricks that will (or at least may) help your bag or bags come out first.
Travel Business or First Class
Those who pay for the better seats get better service, including the perk of their stuff coming out before other people. This is, of course, one of the most expensive ways for your bags to come out first, but I didn’t say all of these ways were free…just that they were ways to potentially have your bags come out first ;-).
It’s another “not cheap” way to get your bags to come out first, but if you have elite status in an airline’s frequent flyer program, you’ll be considered more of a VIP in the airline’s eyes and you’ll have a tag to put on your luggage that will get your stuff out before many other peoples’.
Gate Check Your Bag
Gate-checked bags are among the last to be loaded, which means they should be among the first to be unloaded. Usually. Sometimes. Unless you’re working with an airline, airport or baggage handling system that uses a different system.
Oh, and if you have a stopover the whole “gate check your bag” trick won’t work – your gate-checked bag will get added to the mix of bags that are going to your final destination.
Last One In, First One Out
This one totally messes with my insistence on being habitually early. But just like gate checking your bag, if you check in with little time to spare, your bag might be among the last to be loaded onto the plane – and therefore among the first to be unloaded. Well, theoretically. Again, some airlines, airports or baggage handling systems do things their own way.
Get A “Fragile” Sticker
This one is definitely “working the system.” But try asking for a “fragile” sticker for your checked bag when you check-in. Fragile bags are (supposedly) loaded last so other bags don’t get thrown on top of them, squish them, etc. And that technique, if it works, could even work all the way to your final destination if you have a stopover.
Of the five, only the first two will guarantee that your bag(s) will be some of the first to come out. But if you want to take a shot with the other three, hey, it can’t hurt, right?
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