Carry on bags are great until you get on that smaller regional jet where it needs to get placed in the back of the plane. Sure you usually get it back once you land but when that plane side tag comes off, or was never placed on the bag, this is where the trouble starts.
TSA rules state that a bag without a tag cannot go back to the passenger and must either get sent to the final destination or picked up at that connecting airport’s baggage claim. If it accidentally does go up, we are told that the employee could be subject to a $1,000 fine.
Needless to say, the bag will not get sent up and if you have the time and want to go through security again, you can get your bag at that airport’s baggage claim. Most people though choose to send it to the final destination.
But flying in today’s age with airlines jumping on the bag fee wagon, carry on luggage is the way to go. But the question remains, what can you do to not have the above scenario happen to you?
Put your name on your bag. It may sound like something simple but you have no idea how many bags I see with no name. Imagine how many “black roller about this big” descriptions are at an airport at any given moment? While that won’t help get your bag, it does reduce the chance of it getting lost.
If possible, place the tag on the bag yourself. Put it on in a way that reduces the chance of the tag being torn off by the baggage handler out on the tarmac. If you have a pull up handle, place it on one of the stanchions where it will close down on it. Myself, I have four on my bag (a backpack). One as described above, another on the side of the handle, one in the mesh pocket of the bottle holder and one more slipped in my name tag slot.
The baggage handlers working don’t care how many are on a bag, just so that there is one. It’s easier sending a bag up (and away) then dealing with a frustrated passenger and filling out paperwork to go on the bag and then calling for a bag runner to have it delivered to where the passenger wants it to go (baggage claim or next flight).
If your bag needs to come off the plane, make sure the flight attendant puts a tag on it. Ask for the receipt. All major airlines usually have a receipt component of the tag that gets put on your bag. The number on the receipt matches the number on the plane side ticket that is on your bag.
Take out your important things like your medicine, cell phone, plane tickets, wallet, whatever you think you would need in case you didn’t have a bag. While we can always call a supervisor so that you can get your medicine, everything else is off limits. Trust me. It is a frustrating rule on our end too.
If you switch airlines, make sure you have their tag too. If you don’t have the right tag, it tells us that your bag hasn’t been screened by the TSA and we (the baggage handler) could be subject to a fine.
So consider this as one of those lessons people never tell you. This last picture is an example from an airline employee who also doesn’t take chances with the plane side ticket, no matter which airline.