Thursday, December 1, 2011

What Baggage Handlers Won't Say....

(photo: dwightsghost/flickr)
We all have something to complain about while flying in the cabin of the an airline jet. Imagine what our checked bags would say about their experience. Since that's never going to happen, has published a list of ten things that baggage handlers won't say.

1. Don't pack light we need the money. Fliers are checking fewer bags to avoid baggage fees but they are cramming more into them requiring more upper-body strength of bag handlers.

2. We're losing fewer bags because there are fewer to lose. Passengers are checking fewer bags so there is less luggage to lose.

3. Some of us have sticky fingers. One passenger lost out filing a claim for a camera missing her checked bag because the airline's 30-day window had passed. Some airlines require you report stolen goods before leaving the airport.

4. Sure we handle your pet but can your pet handle us. Animals are exposed to loud noises and extreme temperatures when flying as cargo.

5. We don't actually do that much. Most of the heavy lifting is done by machines. The primary task for handlers is transferring bags onto the plane.

6. Not all bags are created equal. The materials of some bags are better than others. Ballistic nylon is the pinnacle of the best. Polycarbonate of hard-shell suitcases is lightweight but strong. Though handlers may like spinner wheels which rotate in circles and easier to move, they are more susceptible to damage.

7. Stressing about baggage claim? You should. What happens if someone walks off with your suitcase at baggage claim? Airlines hope it won't happen. It's more of an honor system. Legally until your belongings are back in your hands, they're still the responsibility of the airline.

8. Many of us don't work for the airlines. Many are contract workers employed by ground-handling companies. Third-part vendors are popular as a way for airlines to save money but can mean slower service and mistakes.

9. We can't handle unusual items. Check airlines rules. They may cover rules regarding checking things such as varied as cremated remains, sporting equipment and antlers.

10. If you think we're bad here, just wait till you go abroad. In some parts of the world, smugglers have been known to transport drugs in the luggage of unsuspecting passengers or security is lax and pilfering of bags is of greater concerns.

Visit to view the complete report.

A bagge handler collects critters that look like baby crawfish that
escaped from their checked container.
(photo: scattered1/flickr)


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