You’ve just arrived after a long flight. You’ve got no idea what time of day it is or what on earth you just ate on the plane. Your only concern is grabbing your bags and heading for the hotel for some serious shut-eye. But there’s a problem: the endless wait at baggage claim. As you stand by the carousel, bleary eyed, it seems to take forever. But we have two tricks that could see you on your way to those fresh hotel sheets in no time.
The first trick to ensure that your luggage is out first is to ask one of the representatives at the check-in counter to affix a “fragile” sticker to your bag. Bags marked as fragile will typically be loaded later, so they aren’t crushed, and potentially come out before the other bags. Plus, they’re also likely to be handled with more care. The only slight hitch is that the sticker may not always be noticed by staff. Make sure yours is in a prominent place on your luggage.
The other trick you might want to employ is to check your baggage in as late as possible. If you check in last, your bag will be the last to be loaded — and therefore the first to be unloaded at the destination.
If checking in late gives you travel anxiety, however, you could always check your bag when you are on the ramp. Airlines never have enough space to accommodate every rolling suitcase in the overhead bins, so by offering to have the bag checked you are doing the flight crew a favor and guaranteeing that your bag is one of the last to be loaded.
Neither of these methods is foolproof, as loading and unloading systems can vary depending on the airline, aircraft, or baggage handling team. If you are serious about ensuring your baggage is out first, Travel + Leisure recommends booking a first class or business seat, or joining an airline’s frequent flier club to receive a priority tag on your bag.