As a rule of thumb, I try to never check luggage when I fly, but there are times when it is simply unavoidable. Also unavoidable is the subsequent required trip to the luggage carousel. You know the scene: The area is littered with your fellow exhausted travelers who are eager to get their bags so they move along to their hotel or home. But there are ways to make your bag-retrieval time more efficient and less stressful when you’re simply ready to be done traveling for the day.
How to get your baggage to come out first at the luggage carousel
Of course, this will never be a perfect science, but according to airport ramp worker and gate agent Thomas Lo Sciuto, there is one way to increase your odds of bag coming out first. He writes, “your best option is to be one of the last passengers to check your bags. Bags will always be loaded front to back on the bag carts, so if you check in last your bags will be in the last bag cart, which will make them the last on the aircraft, and the first off the aircraft at your destination.”
If being one of the last passengers to check into your flight causes you more agita than waiting around the luggage carousel, however, there is an alternative. According to Lo Sciuto, you can also bring your bag through security and then ask your flight’s desk agent if they can check your luggage at the gate. This will achieve the same effect of getting your bag an ideal placement on the undercarriage, thus making it first to hit the conveyer belt at your destination.
Track your luggage with an AirTag
When you check your luggage on a flight, there are a handful of variables that can contribute to things ultimately going wrong and your bag going off on its own to a separate destination. If you tag your luggage with an Apple AirTag, though, you’ll at least have peace of mind on your walk over to baggage claim that you wouldn’t otherwise feel because you can confirm that your suitcase did, in fact, make it to the same city as you. Never again will you have to stand around the carousel wondering if your bag is going to come down the chute at all.
As an added bonus, if someone accidentally (or purposefully) walks off with your luggage, you’ll have a much easier time tracking it down for its safe retrieval.
Don’t stand directly at the bottom of the carousel chute
Standing right at the luggage carousel’s chute a telltale sign of self-importance, but it’s also ultimately ineffective. Choose a spot farther down the carousel’s path where it’s less crowded so you’ll have more space and better access to grab your suitcase once it has mercifully made its journey to you. This might not be the fastest way to retrieve it every time, but on the whole, it will be a less stressful experience, which is ultimately what we’re after.