The Essentials

The Real Reason for Plastic Wrapping Your Luggage

Photo: Raju Paudel

When you’re waiting at baggage claim, you’ll sometimes see suitcases wrapped in layers of plastic.

There’s a reason for plastic-wrapping your luggage, and it’s extra protection.

It’s a great deterrent against baggage theft, especially when you realize that bag thieves don’t steal bags as much as they take individual items of value from bags. A fully-wrapped bag is often too much trouble for them.

It’s certain that bag-wrapping companies also offer tracking stickers along with the plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap services are mostly available at European and Asian airports, but you can find secure wrap stations at JFK, Houston, and Miami airports. It only takes a minute or so to wrap your bag, but here’s one important caution. If the TSA opens your check-in bag for inspection — and it has the right to do this of course — it will not rewrap it for you.