pile of suitcases
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
October 2, 2023 ·  5 min read

Airport Worker Shares Travel Hack That Will Help Stop Your Luggage from Getting Lost

If an airline or airport has ever lost your luggage while traveling, you know how much of a headache it can be. Oftentimes, if it is lost on the way to a vacation destination, you won’t even get it back until you return home. Even worse, sometimes you may never see your luggage again. Recently on TikTok, an airport worker explained one of the number one things that you can do to prevent your luggage from going missing.

The Number One Thing To Prevent Lost Luggage

If there’s anyone who should know the best practices to prevent you from losing your luggage, it’s a baggage handler. After all, it’s their job to do their best to ensure that each suitcase gets on the right plane to arrive safely at its destination. Recently, the Ontario, California airport posted a video on their TikTok speaking with a baggage handler. They asked him what, in his opinion, was a mistake that he sees people making that quite often results in lost luggage. He responded by explaining how they properly sort the baggage onto the correct planes: Using a barcode. This barcode is put on each suitcase using a sticker. More often than we realize, people fail to remove the sticker from their last trip. If the machine picks up on that scan-code instead of the newer one, you will have a problem.

“Well, there’s a little sticker that goes on for American [Airlines] that tells the computer that it should go to there,” he explained. “So if your month-old American sticker is on there, there’s a chance it scans it instead of this one. It just depends how it’s clocked and where the stuff is. It might end up over there and not get on the plane,” (1)

Some people commented that they thought it was common sense to remove the previous stickers. Others said that, in their experience, they won’t even put the new sticker on until any old ones have been removed. That being said, according to this baggage handler, there are stickers that get missed and therefore bags that don’t end up in the intended destination. The takeaway here: Don’t leave anything on your suitcase that could indicate that it has a different destination in mind.

@flyontairport Pro Tip: If you dont want your bags to get lost when traveling… remove old stickers from past trips off your luggage. #FlyONT #SoCalSoEasy ♬ Sunshine – WIRA

Tips to Prevent Lost Luggage

Losing luggage can be incredibly frustrating and stressful, especially when you are traveling. Unfortunately, baggage mishaps are not uncommon, but there are steps you can take to reduce the chances of losing your belongings. In this article, we will discuss several preventive measures that can help you keep your luggage safe and secure. (2, 3)

1. Choose Nonstop Flights

Whenever possible, opt for nonstop flights. Baggage often gets lost during layovers or when transferring between flights. By choosing a nonstop flight, you eliminate the risk of misrouted or mishandled luggage.

2. Label Your Bags Properly

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to prevent lost luggage is by labeling your bags correctly. Make sure to include your name, phone number, and email address on both the outside and inside of your luggage. It is also advisable to attach a durable luggage tag with your contact information to make identification easier.

3. Secure Your Luggage with Locks

Invest in high-quality luggage locks to secure your bags. Opt for TSA-approved locks, as they can be opened by baggage inspectors without causing damage. By using locks, you deter thieves and prevent unauthorized access to your belongings.

4. Use Unique Baggage: Avoid generic-looking luggage

When selecting your luggage, opt for distinctive colors or patterns that stand out from the crowd. This uniqueness makes it easier for you to spot your bags, and for airline staff to identify and retrieve your luggage correctly.

5. Carry-On Essential Items

Always keep your essentials, such as medicines, toiletries, and valuable items, in your carry-on bag. This way, even if your checked baggage is lost, you will have necessary items with you.

6. Take a Photo of Your Luggage

Before traveling, take a clear photo of your luggage, including the contents inside. Having a visual record will help you provide precise descriptions in case you need to report lost or stolen bags.

7. Arrive Early

Arriving at the airport well in advance gives baggage handlers more time to process your luggage accurately. Rushing increases the chances of mistakes, resulting in lost luggage.

8. Purchase Travel Insurance

Look into travel insurance policies that cover lost or delayed baggage. While this won’t prevent your luggage from being lost, it can help alleviate the financial burden of replacing lost items.

9. Track Your Bags

Use technology to your advantage by employing tracking devices or attaching GPS trackers to your luggage. These modern innovations allow you to monitor the movement of your bags and help you quickly locate them in case of loss.

10. Keep Important Documents Safe

Always keep your passport, identification, and travel documents with you rather than in your checked baggage. Losing these crucial items can lead to complications during your trip.

11. Stay Updated

Stay updated with flight notifications and alerts provided by your airline. This way, you will be aware of any changes or delays, which can reduce the chances of misrouted or lost luggage.

12. Report Mishandled Bags Immediately

In the unfortunate event that your luggage is mishandled or lost, report it to airline staff immediately. They will provide you with a file reference number and assist you throughout the process of tracking and locating your bags.

Remember, despite taking precautionary measures, lost luggage can still happen. However, by following these tips, you significantly reduce the likelihood of such occurrences and minimize the impact if it does occur. Safe travels!


  1. Tiktok. flyontairport.
  2. Airport Worker Shares Travel Hack That Will Help Stop Your Luggage from Getting Lost.” People. Nikki Dobrin. September 14, 2023.
  3. 8 Things You Can Do To Prevent Your Luggage From Getting Lost Forever.” Chipolo