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The Real Reason You’re Stuck Waiting for Luggage

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baggage_caroselFrom the moment an airplane leaves the gate until the second it touches down, almost every aspect of an airline’s on-time performance is measured. But there’s one aspect about on-time performance that affects millions of people every year and it’s not measured. It has to do with waiting for luggage at the carousel.

Yes, misplaced bags are tracked and, in fact, performance is getting better because of that. But there’s no attention to how quickly a suitcase goes from the plane and appears on a carousel. That’s when the airlines make you wait, and it’s entirely unregulated.

Airline officials claim to be focused on getting bags onto a plane quickly and ensuring they make connections. But there is no regulation on whether you have to wait 5 minutes or 30 minutes for your bag.

But there is something you can do to save yourself some time. When you have a choice, opt for a smaller airport or terminal.

Until airlines and airports actually measure their efficiency at getting bags onto a carousel, it will remain a low priority, even though the technology is there to make things better.

The best solution is actually outside of the airlines. For about the same amount of money that it costs to check a bag and have the airline delivery service bring it to you, you can use the US Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, or some other courier service to come to your home, pick up your bag, and have them bring it to the destination. It will be waiting for you when you get there. Not at the airport, but in your hotel room. How cool is that?

Watch as Travel Weekly’s Arnie Weissmann explores all your options in this exclusive Travel Detective tip.