The airports are full of people, cruise ships are sailing all over the world, and theme parks are as busy as ever.
A lot is happening in the world of travel right now. Here are a couple of the highlights.
- People are no longer required to show a negative covid test to board a plane returning to the United States after traveling abroad.
- The CDC is evaluating its stance on pre-cruise testing to put the guidance in line with every other form of transportation
- COVID restrictions are being loosened in nearly every part of the world
The travel business is booming. I obviously keep in contact with many suppliers and follow the latest news and guidance. A consistent message I’m hearing (especially regarding travel to Europe) is that demand for travel has exploded in the past few weeks. I’ve known this was coming, and it only further validates my advice of booking early. Nine to 11 months out is the ‘sweet spot’. One supplier even recommends securing flights (especially to the UK and Ireland) before booking land. If you are interested in Europe for next year, the time to start planning is now. Don’t put it off and miss out.
Destroy my luggage, please!
With so many people on the move, I wanted to give some advice to make sure your luggage gets damaged or diverted to the wrong place. I come to this from a perspective that may be unique. Not only do I plan travel for my clients, but I also work on the ramp at a major airport where I load luggage for a very large airline.
Obviously, no one wants to have their bags damaged and everyone wants them to be at our destination when we arrive. The inexperienced traveler, or the highly experienced, may not be familiar with the workings of the airport and how bags are handled. There are some things that greatly increase problems and some that greatly reduce them.
Ready for some advice?
- When purchasing luggage get a bag with 4 good sets of wheels
The distance between the door and the far end of the cargo can be in excess of 25 feet. There is one person who passes the bags from the door to the person who is stacking the bags. A bag with 4 wheels can be rolled. If it does not roll the only other option is to throw it from the door to the far end.
- Use hard sided bags rather than soft-sided
Soft-sided bags tend to have tapered sides. They tend to be put on the sides of the stack where the walls curve to keep the stacks even. That means they can end up getting stuffed into places that they don’t really fit well. Soft bags often have outside pockets. These throw off the center of gravity of the bag so they fall over when rolled across the bin.
The floor of the cargo bin may have a lot of shart edges and things that hook and rip the fabric.
- Don’t overpack
If your bag is stretched to the limits the zipper is likely to fail at some point. If there are outside pockets then they start to become round rather than square. The bag falls over. Since it won’t roll it flies through the air.
- Remove all old tags
There is an RFID chip in the luggage tag that you get at check-in. The bag is going to get scanned several times between the ticket counter and the plane. Old tags can confuse the systems and send your bag to the wrong place. At the very least, an old tag created the need for extra touches by a person. With today’s staffing issues, it may take a while until a person gets to the bag to send it on its way.
It is fine to place your cruise tag on your bags. These don’t have the tracking system and will not get confused with the airline’s tag. If the bag does get lost, the cruise tag may actually help it get to you before the ship leaves.
Don’t check-in at the last minute.
Bags go through a lot of people and check-points between the ticket counter and your final destination. A late checked bag is likely to be riding on a later flight. During my shift at the airport, we have 7 planes leave in less than 3 1/2 hours. There is often one person in the bag room separating all the bags into carts to be delivered to the correct plane. That is literally hundreds of bags. When rushing it is easy to put a bag onto the wrong cart. If the bag drops late, there may not be anyone available to drive it from the bag room to the plane. We can delay a plane for missing bags.
Everyone in the industry wants you to receive your bags quickly and in good condition. With millions of airline passengers flying every day, accidents and mistakes are going to happen. We do our best. Following the simple advice above will greatly increase your chances that you and your bags are happily reunited after your flight.
Time to start Charting Memories