Why you should check in your bags as late as possible

Image for article titled Why you should check in your bags as late as possible

photo: catwalk photos (Shutterstock)

As a rule of thumb, I try never to check bags when I fly, but there are times when it’s just unavoidable. The subsequent trip to the baggage carousel is also unavoidable. You know the scene: the area is littered with your weary fellow travelers, eager to get their bags so they can continue on to their hotel or home. But there are ways to make your luggage collection more efficient and less stressful when you’re just ready to travel for the day.

How to bring your luggage to the baggage carousel first

Of course, this will never be a perfect science, but according to airport ramp worker and gate agent Thomas Lo Sciuto, is there a way to increase your chances of the bag coming out first. He writes: “Your best option is to be one of the last passengers to check in your bags. Luggage is always loaded onto the luggage trolleys from the front to the back. So if you are the last to check in, your bags will be in the last baggage cart, making them last on the plane and first off the plane at the destination.”

However, if you’re one of the last passengers to check into your flight and have more excitement than waiting at the baggage carousel, there is an alternative. According to Lo Sciuto, you can also take your bags through security and then ask your flight counter clerk to check your bags at the gate. This achieves the same effect by ideally placing your bag on the chassis so that it hits the conveyor belt first at the destination.

Track your luggage with one AirTag

When you check your bags on a flight, there are a handful of variables that can contribute to things ultimately going wrong and your bags going to a different destination on their own. However, by tagging your luggage with an Apple AirTag, you at least have the peace of mind on your way to baggage claim that you wouldn’t otherwise feel, since you can confirm that your suitcase actually made it to the same city as you. Never have to again Standing around the carousel wondering if your bag will even make it down the slide.

As an added bonus, if someone accidentally (or intentionally) leaves with your luggage, you’ll find it much easier to find safely.

Do not stand directly on the bottom of the carousel slide

Standing right in the baggage carousel chute is a telltale sign of complacency, but ultimately ineffective. Choose a seat further down the path of the carousel where it’s less crowded so you have more space and better access to grab your suitcase once it’s graciously made its journey to you. This might not be the quickest way to get it every time, but overall it’ll be a less stressful experience, which is ultimately what we’re looking for.