Cory6188
Topic Author
Posts: 2705
Joined: Mon Feb 02, 2004 12:29 am

What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:43 pm

I consider myself a fairly knowledgeable (and enough of an airplane nerd, given that I'm here on a.net :) ), but the one thing about airlines continues to perplex me is delayed baggage.

I can't seem to figure out what airline protocol is with cancellations, missed connections, etc., and I'd love to hear from someone that actually works with delayed bags as to what happens when a checked bag goes missing.

As a few examples:
  • Last year, I was flying JFK-CDG-HAM on AF. JFK-CDG ended up getting canceled, so I switched to a different JFK-CDG (and ultimately CDG-HAM) flight. Not surprisingly, my bag didn't make it to HAM. Three days later, I finally get a call on my cell at 2:30 am Europe time from a 718 area code (Queens) from the AF bag office at JFK, asking what I wanted to do with the bag. What surprised me is that I had listed explicit instructions when I filed the claim at HAM with my hotel information in Hamburg, and it took 3 days to finally hear something. When the flight was canceled, I'm guessing that they sent the bags out to the carousel, but from there...the bag just sat in the AF bag office for 3 days until someone finally got around to following up on it?
  • On a JFK-AMS-BLL itinerary on DL/KL, the JFK-AMS flight was late, and while I made the AMS-BLL flight by running through AMS, my bag didn't. There were 4 later flights that day from AMS-BLL, but the bag didn't make any of them, finally making it on to the last flight of the night. When the bag came off the DL flight from JFK, what would have happeed at AMS that it would've taken nearly 10 hours to get on a later flight?
  • Recently, I was on an itinerary ZRH-AMS-BLL, and ZRH-AMS was running late. Again, I made the connection, but my bag didn't - yet this time, it showed up on the next AMS-BLL flight, only a few hours later (and the gate agent in AMS made a point to say that she'd flag the bag for the next flight).

I realize that this probably sounds like a rant/whine, which isn't my intention. I'm more just curious as to "what's happening" below the terminal in terms of handling bags without a "home," especially given some of the fairly inconsistent outcomes. Is it just the volume of bags and getting lucky that someone notices something out of place, sooner rather than later? What do bag handlers do when it's time to send a bag to a connecting flight, and that flight has since departed?

Thanks in advance for any input/clarification.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:57 pm

I’d guess there’s a different story for every lost bag—millions of stories. I’ve twice been told the bag didn’t make the connection only to be 20 miles away from the airport and called with, “we have your bag”. What? Once I went back in a wet snow strong to receive thoroughly soaked luggage. The other time the airline sent it to meet me 3 days later. I’ve had the tags between my bags and someone going elsewhere swapped on check-in. I had their’s IN MGM; they had mine in PBI.

A friend on mine twice had firearms reported as delayed, but he had a Tile device and told the bag office, his bags were within 50’ of them. “Impossible” said bag claim until the police showed up.

Nothing like watching the carousel stop and you don’t have a bag.

GF
 
levg79
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:07 pm

One time I was flying JFK-ATL-FLL and the ATL-FLL flight got delayed due to the aircraft going tech. Upon arrival at FLL, I was called to the baggage office to pick up the bag. Apparently while we were waiting in ATL there was a different flight that ended up going to FLL earlier and they loaded my bag on it.

Another time during a missed connection in AMS on the JFK-AMS-RIX flight, my bag did not make it on any flight going to RIX until a third day even though it was supposed to be loaded on to the flight I was on. They found the bag in AMS the next day and delivered it to RIX the following day when BT actually hired a taxi to deliver it to where I was staying.

I think Samsonite should really start inserting GPS trackers into their product...
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
tonystan
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Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:19 pm

In a past life I worked in baggage tracing for a European carrier. It was almost 20 years ago but not much has changed from what I understand.

Essentially every airline and airport relies on varying degrees of man power and technology. If either is lacking then there will be a delay.

Most major airlines use the World Tracer system. A great system which can instantly identify a bag and begin to reunite it with its owner but it depends on A) the bag tag with identifier code is still attached. B) the handler handling the bag follows correct procedure to ensure it is forwarded to the correct station for despatch the owner and C) the owner remains contactable at all times (trust me it happens that they often disappear off the face of the earth).

Many modern airports have automated baggage systems, if a transit bag is going through the system enroute to its connecting flight and it becomes obvious it will not make it it will then be redirected to a delayed baggage area for the respective airline. Great you say, well not really, it then requires a person to scan the bag into World tracer and hopefully immediately set it up for forwarding updating the system with the new flight details. But before it can be forwarded it needs to be security cleared to fly unaccompanied and it needs to gain permission to travel on that flight even if it’s the same airline.

If manpower is lacking or they are swamped the bag is simply going to sit in a pile for however long before an agent gets their hands on it. Let’s face it, work ethic in the airline industry in the US is not particularly proactive so I’m not surprised it took three days for it to be identified and actioned. Most carriers would make an effort to at least “Quick Trace” or log that they have the bag tag number in the system even if they don’t get round to immediately dispatching it just so that by the time the passenger gets to their final destination and reports the bag missing their agent will be able to tell them that their bag is in XXX airport. But this is not something reliable.
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
ltbewr
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sun Oct 06, 2019 10:19 pm

To reduce the risk of a lost or mishandled bag and getting it sooner, here is some advice.

    Make sure you have a name, address and all phone numbers you can be reached at (home phone, cell phone, if use Skype then that phone number too) on an covered external tag and taped like a label inside the bag - all bags including carry ons.

    Make sure when checking in a bag, if a fee needs to be paid do it and get a receipt, or if been pre-paid, that it was done. Keep that receipt too

    Make sure the bags have the correct info for the final destination and any intermediates stops/transfers, have your name on them and make sure to take that part for the 'claim check' with the bag/barcode/image, airline, flight number needed if need to have the bag traced or get to you.

    Make sure you have phone numbers and website info for all airlines involved in your flight so can look for the bag, notify of the problem

    If you arrive and your bag doesn't, make sure you notify the airline staff or company handling it in writing or on a pad to make sure they know all the details, maybe get some immediate cash compensation or a refund for short term clothing needs. It is also possible you bag was damaged and couldn't be put on the 'carousel'

    Its also possible that it got mishandled as the departure airport, a 'can' with baggage got missed for some reason (especially if do a last minute check in of a bag) or baggage left off for weight or other reasons. Often it will be on the next available flight. A hassle for you but stuff happens.

    If worse comes to worse, call your credit card issuer you bought the ticket with as some may offer lost/delayed luggage insurance

    If the bag gets lost in the USA, it gets a trip to a Georgia town with stores that sell lost luggage and without info of its owner. You could go there.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:33 am

There are too many variables. The general answer - it eventually gets to your ticketed/checked destination. If you're interlining but headed to a destination served by your initial carrier, the first carrier may keep it all the way through. Some carriers use RFID tags and should recognize a misroute more quickly.
 
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eta unknown
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:02 am

As stated above, most of the delays are sue to manpower shortages. However, I've found any UA connection under an hour via DEN is bad for baggage and TK are notorious for taking days to enter lost bag data at IST- so the bags just sit there for ages before the system matches them up.
 
coolian2
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:50 am

My bag "missed it's connection" in DFW once. I picture it getting drunk in the airport bar and hitting on the bartender.
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TMccrury
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:15 pm

While on a recent trip to TNR, a friend of mine's back went to TRN instead. It took 4 days for it to make it from TRN to TNR via CDG. His original route was BNA-JFK-CDG-TNR and return. A couple of years ago, I was on a flight to TNR as well. It was IAD-LHR-JNB-TNR. The first 2 segments were on Virgin and then we switched to South African Airlink. In LHR, the plane went tech and they rescheduled us onto BA for the trip to JNB. Our bags didn't make it to TNR for 3 days and no one seemed to even remotely know where they were. It was interesting. VS was blaming BA, BA was blaming VS, VS and BA were both blaming SA and SA was blaming the former 2. It was a circus. Come to find out, it broke down at LHR. Who was exactly at fault is unknown. So, I blame both VS and BA. Not that it matters now some 2.5 years later.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 12:16 pm

coolian2 wrote:
My bag "missed it's connection" in DFW once. I picture it getting drunk in the airport bar and hitting on the bartender.


Projecting much?

GF
 
smokeybandit
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:06 pm

I recently flew BWI-IAH-DEN. My bag flew BWI-TPA
 
wirkey
Posts: 2
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:07 pm

I once had a trip FRA-BKK-KUL-SIN-SYD (FRA-KUL being LH, KUL-SYD SQ). LH had two filghts to BKK that day. I was booked on the one going on to MNL (or SGN?) and had to change planes in BKK. My luggage didn't make the connection in BKK but ended up being in SYD way earlier than me...
 
Insertnamehere
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 1:31 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
coolian2 wrote:
My bag "missed it's connection" in DFW once. I picture it getting drunk in the airport bar and hitting on the bartender.


Projecting much?

GF


r/woosh
 
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TWA772LR
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:43 pm

In IAH for TK I saw a few bags meant for IAD, and even one for YUL...

In DEN for WN there were tons of ways bags got lost. Loaded on the wrong flight, loaded on the wrong belt, fell off the cart in the tunnel, someone picked up the wrong bag, or (my personal favorite) a bag didnt get offloaded after a guys day trip and it overnighted in MKE. It was embarrassing to tell the customer, "Since we don't scan bags, I don't know where it is."

I also heard a story how a guys firearm accidentally got loaded to SJD instead of SJC. Long story short, since he didn't arrive with the firearm, he if permanently banned from Mexico, all because the airline put the bag on the wrong flight!
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n729pa
Posts: 1101
Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:16 pm

Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Mon Oct 07, 2019 2:47 pm

I've fortunately only had it happen once and very impressed with how it was handled.

I was travelling around Australia and this particular day flying BNE-SYD-AYQ (Ayers Rock - Uluru) on QF.

The BNE-SYD flight was delayed due to ATC delays in SYD. My connection was about an 1:15, when I arrived in SYD I rushed to my gate about 3-4 gates away and duly got on my flight. SYD-AYQ was a once a day flight at that time. Needless to say when I got to AYQ, I waited and waited ..no bag came out. So went to QF desk and was asked to describe my case, yes we've had a message about that one, don't worry we'll deliver it to your hotel by 11 am tomorrow. They gave me an amenity bag and off I went. Some what at a loss I went out on a tour in the morning and got back to my hotel around midday and on checking at my front desk, yes it's in your room. When I got there sure enough there it was with a little note from QF apologising for any inconvenience. When I checked the tag, they had flown it SYD-CNS the night before and it had caught the early morning flight CNS-AYQ, rather than wait for the later direct SYD-AYQ flight like I'd flown on the day before (which would have arrived mid-afternoon ).

So apart from being rather pleased to be reunited with it, I was quite impressed with the effort QF made in the first place and then to sort it out as quickly as possible.

True this is fairly straight forward and maybe doesnt always go according to plan, but everything worked out ok but that's what you need at the end of the day.
 
blueflyer
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 5:41 am

Like most travelers, I try and avoid checking-in a bag whenever possible, but I'm only human...

I've once missed a connection on the way to DCA because I wasn't willing to run through a busy airport like a mad man trying to escape an ax murderer on a bender. But maybe the ax murderer was hanging around in the baggage sort because my bag did make it onto the flight (yes, it should not have since I wasn't onboard...).

The most frustrating instances of bag loss is when the airline has limited operations at the airport and the same crew seems to be responsible for everything above the wing. Opening the baggage office when a plane arrives is low on their priority, and sometimes the crew goes home after the last outbound flight and doesn't wait for the last inbound.... fun times when bags didn't make it onto the flight (I'm looking at you AC at DFW!).

World Tracer is great in theory but either relies on manual inputs more than it should, or adherence to procedures is lax. Several times have I had a bag showing up in the system as being at the origin airport, waiting to be assigned to a flight, right up until the moment it is delivered to my house/hotel.
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 4:02 pm

Actually, you’re making an assumption about “most travelers” from what I’ve seen in baggage claim. Quite a few, along with me, check bags to avoid lugging or wheeling thru connections, men’s rooms, restaurants or bars. I check about 90% of the time.

Once, my bags didn’t make after a breathless running connection in ATL. At BDL, PA announcement called my name and directed I go to baggage claim office where they knew the bags didn’t make and it’d be delivered.

Contrary to popular opinion, if you’re not on the flight, a checked bag may travel separately. I’ve had bags make an earlier connection than I did and bags that missed the connection and sent later.

GF
 
LGAviation
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:26 pm

My favourite story still is the time I flew ZNZ-ADD-FRA with a 12 hour layover at Addis Ababa which I used to explore the city (there would've been an earlier ADD-JED-FRA flight on LH who partner with ET). When I arrived in FRA, my bag was nowhere to be found and so I notified ET who were nice enough to tell me that ground staff at ADD thought it would be a better idea to just load my bag on the next FRA flight (being the LH one) than to wait for mine. So in the end, my bag had been sitting in the unclaimed baggage area for 12 hours waiting for me.
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njboyindc
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:30 pm

ltbewr wrote:
To reduce the risk of a lost or mishandled bag and getting it sooner, here is some advice.



Thank you for these. This is a great thread. I wanted to share my own story as I still have a lot of questions and frustrations about it.

I was flying DCA-LAX-BNE. The first leg was on AA and the second leg on QF. My bag was checked through to BNE. While connecting in LAX, I noticed on the AA app that it showed my bag was sent to baggage claim, which seemed odd. In retrospect, I probably should have gone down to baggage claim to look for my bag, though I didn't have a ton of time before the next flight. Instead, I spoke to a One World employee who told me the bag would be transferred. Then I went to the AA customer service office and told them and they said they would locate the bag. While waiting there, they told me they found the bag at baggage claim and gave it to QF. At the gate for the QF flight, I again spoke to the agent who told me the bag was loaded in the plane. Upon landing in BNE, the bag didn't show and QF staff there said it was not loaded on the plane in the first place. They were never able to find the bag and both airlines have blamed the other. Something that has been bothering me: Was I supposed to collect my bag at baggage claim at LAX and bring it to QF? The tag said it was checked all the way through.

I now try to only take non-stop flights.
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Wed Oct 09, 2019 3:13 am

I’ve flown that connection myself only out of BOS, worked fine. AA in BOS tagged the two bags to BNE. After diverting to Fiji, stopping in AKL, my bags were on the carousel and the rental car waiting.

GF
 
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Seabear
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:42 pm

I've always imagined that it would be something like this:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5sEIWlQO7A
 
PlymSpotter
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Wed Oct 09, 2019 8:57 pm

It can also depend on the circumstances of the bag missing.

Say the bag was checked late and didn't make the flight, or was otherwise mishandled. In this case it will most likely be sent as a rush bag to the current local, home or final destination of the pax.

However it's also possible that something major went wrong - with the loader, the baggage system or even the aircraft hold, meaning no bags at all made the flight. In this case, it is likely that they will be sent as a 'mini-rush'. I won't go into the full details, but because of the circumstances in which the bags missed, they are considered less of a security threat. This involves much less paperwork and is quicker, meaning it is likely that the bags are likely to make the very next flight and (hopefully) be reunited with pax the same or very next day.

Another issue to consider is that a pilot has the right to refuse any unaccompanied bags. In practice only a small number do, so long as the paperwork is all perfect. And it has to be perfect - one digit out of order, or not signed correctly, and it'll be refused. This is normally an issue only during major incidents like belt failures, where dozens of staff are drafted in from other departments to handle rush bags who may not understand the process fully.
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johns624
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Thu Oct 10, 2019 2:12 am

I've only had a bag delayed once. My wife and I were flying BA DTW-LHR and then continuing on British Midland to EDI. Two of our 3 bags made it but the third wasn't there. We made a claim in EDI and rented a car and drove up to Ft William. The next day we were planning on climbing Ben Nevis but the delayed bag had all of our hiking clothes and equipment in it. So, the next day we're just laying around our room and I open the door about 230pm and there was our bag laying in the hallway. They had delivered it but not bothered to knock. We got dressed and drove to the mountain and started hiking. We only got about halfway up and it was getting late and everyone else was already coming down. We ended up just turning around because we knew how weather can change quickly up there.
 
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RyanairGuru
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Thu Oct 10, 2019 3:35 am

njboyindc wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
To reduce the risk of a lost or mishandled bag and getting it sooner, here is some advice.



Thank you for these. This is a great thread. I wanted to share my own story as I still have a lot of questions and frustrations about it.

I was flying DCA-LAX-BNE. The first leg was on AA and the second leg on QF. My bag was checked through to BNE. While connecting in LAX, I noticed on the AA app that it showed my bag was sent to baggage claim, which seemed odd. In retrospect, I probably should have gone down to baggage claim to look for my bag, though I didn't have a ton of time before the next flight. Instead, I spoke to a One World employee who told me the bag would be transferred. Then I went to the AA customer service office and told them and they said they would locate the bag. While waiting there, they told me they found the bag at baggage claim and gave it to QF. At the gate for the QF flight, I again spoke to the agent who told me the bag was loaded in the plane. Upon landing in BNE, the bag didn't show and QF staff there said it was not loaded on the plane in the first place. They were never able to find the bag and both airlines have blamed the other. Something that has been bothering me: Was I supposed to collect my bag at baggage claim at LAX and bring it to QF? The tag said it was checked all the way through.

I now try to only take non-stop flights.


If it was tagged through to BNE you should not have been required to collect the bag at LAX. Ultimately AA are responsible as they should never have sent it to baggage claim in the first place.

I've actually had the opposite situation. I flew AV GUA-MIA connecting to AA MIA-LAX. The bag was tagged through. When I got to MIA I waited at baggage claim to collect my bag as the first port of entry to the US, and it never showed. I went to the baggage services desk to enquire. It turned out that the bag had already been handed over to AA. They had to go and get it back so it could be returned to me and processed through customs.


Qantas once delivered a mishandled bag to me on Christmas Day which really impressed me. They called me on the evening of Christmas Eve to advise me that the bag had arrived and would be delivered the next morning. I pointed out that it was Christmas the next day to which the operator said something along the lines of "we operate 365 days a year, and we like making people happy at Christmas!"
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
aklrno
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Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Fri Oct 11, 2019 9:41 pm

There used to be a thing called TRAKDOT which you could place in your luggage and it would notify you where your stuff was. It could even track it (somewhat) inside the airport. That no longer works. It used the 2G cellphone network which doesn't exist any longer.

The same people are running an Indiegogo campaign for a company called BSAF which is doing a new version that will be compliant with all airlines and international regulations. As a former TRAKDOT happy customer I was given a discounted price for the new device, so I'm hoping it will be done soon.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3682
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:36 pm

TILE is the new go-to tracking device. Upthread I mentioned it saved a friend two bags.

GF
 
aklrno
Posts: 1510
Joined: Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:18 pm

Re: What exactly happens when a bag gets delayed?

Sat Oct 12, 2019 12:06 am

Tile must be within Bluetooth range, about 100 feet, of a device running the tile app and connected to the internet. BSAF will independently use the cell phone network which will probably work in far more places.

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