Considering a Tracker Next Time You Fly? Here’s How They Work and Your Baggage Rights as a Traveler

Dec. 29, 2022

Losing luggage during a trip can easily ruin vacation plans.

With recent Southwest cancellations and thousands of unclaimed pieces of luggage at airport terminals, luggage tracking technologies may become a no brainer when traveling.

Based on the most recent Air Travel Consumer report, in November, 2,157,470 bags were mishandled in the U.S. in 2022. That is a 37% increase from 2021 in either stolen, damaged or lost bags.

Thankfully, new technologies like luggage tracking devices are making it easier to identify where you bags are going at all times.

How it works

Tracking devices use different technologies like GPS and Bluetooth. Though tracking technologies can be used for a range of items like wallets, keys and handbags, they are also effective in ensuring you’re able to track your baggage to its appropriate destination.

A tracking device can cost anywhere from $35 to $500 — it just depends on the technology you decide to use. Tile, a tracking device company, offers devices that can fit any budget. It’s popular product, called The Powerful Finder, is currently on sale.

Most tracking devices require a smartphone. Through an app you’ll have the ability to track your item and also check things like the life of your battery or the travel history of your item.

Something to keep in mind if you’re traveling abroad is connectivity. Changing the SIM on trackers may be required, just keep note of that when making a purchase.

If you don’t want to invest in a tracking device that is fine too. Check with your airline to see if they offer tracking services on luggage. Airlines like Delta have incorporated technologies like radio frequency identification, or RFID, tracking baggage systems which allows travelers to track baggage with either the bag tag, confirmation or file reference number.

Lost baggage rights

Whether you decide to track your luggage , there is still the possibility of your luggage being lost. As a traveler you have rights.

“On the off chance your luggage doesn’t arrive at your destination when you do, it’s important to make sure you understand your rights – which can depend on the departure location and airline,” stated AirHelp CEO Tomasz Pawliszyn in an email to The Bee.

Airhelp is a company that promotes and enforces air passenger rights in cases of flight disruptions globally.

To ensure you can dispute a mishandled bag with an airline, you’ll want to hold on to a few items like your boarding pass and luggage receipt, Pawliszyn wrote.

“It’s also important to let the airline know as soon as possible as travelers can claim up to $3,500 for luggage issues. To receive any compensation, passengers will need to fill out a Property Irregularity Report, request a bag fee rebate, and — if they must replace any necessary items — file a claim with the airline,” Pawliszy wrote to the The Bee.

“Most airlines require that your claim be made no later than 45 days from the date of your flight even if your bags haven’t arrived yet. Again, this varies from one carrier to the next, so check your airline’s policy online.”

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