When a ‘Fragile’ sticker is ignored: Easy-peasy ways to protect your luggage

Is your luggage really safe in the hands of baggage handlers? Source: Shutterstock.

CHECKING IN YOUR LUGGAGE at the airport may have its advantages, but it can also be a cause for concern.

Did you pack smartly? Will your liquids explode in your bag? What are you going to do if it gets lost in transit? Should you be worrying about anything being stolen? Are the ground employees handling it with care?

Baggage handlers have a bad rep. They have either been caught stealing from luggage while loading them onto the plane, being “mischievous” at their work i.e. swapping baggage tags for fun, or manhandling suitcases.

Last year, a ramp agent at a UK airport told The Independent that, “bags were routinely kicked and intentionally thrown against the walls of aircraft holds for ‘fun'”. And just yesterday, a video of EasyJet baggage staff tossing passengers’ baggage off a plane at Bristol Airport surfaced.

On the other side of the world, however, two Japanese men are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame for being the kind of baggage handlers that every airline needs.

Facebook user Nihongo Wakaranai uploaded a video of two All Nippon Airways (ANA) ground staff unloading luggage at Chubu Centrair International Airport in Nagoya, Japan.

“Caught on film at the airport in Japan shows how the Japanese really treat your suitcase… often better than yourself,” Wakaranai wrote.

In the three-minute video, the baggage handlers can be seen systematically arranging each piece of luggage onto the back of a truck with utmost care. The video went viral, earning praises and respect from netizens for their exceptional professionalism.

“I am impressed. They are truly dedicated and work with passion,” commented Facebook user Peggy Peiyi.

But not all travelers are lucky enough to have their baggage handled by the ground ANA employees.

According to the Airports Council International (ACI) World Airport Traffic Report, there are currently 17,678 commercial airports in the world and 0.28 percent of those airports are in Japan. So travelers may need to brace themselves for arrivals, departures and transits at all the other airports, and take preemptive measures to safeguard their luggage well before jetting off to faraway destinations.

When a “Fragile” sticker is so easy to ignore. Source: Shutterstock.

Here are some easy-peasy ways to protect your luggage from damage or theft:

  • Invest in good luggage: Good does not equal expensive. Just be wary of your potential luggage’s material. Colorful, plastic cases may be pleasing to the eye, but they crack in the cold and get crushed under weight. Fabric ones are more durable.
  • Get a luggage cover: Get a fitted cover to not only keep your luggage clean (the cargo is not the cleanest area in an airplane) but also to keep zip pulls from being snagged and ripped off. Also, a fun cover design would make it easier for you to spot your luggage on the belt.
  • Wrap and go: For added protection, head over to the baggage wrap kiosks at the airport to cling wrap your luggage. At least your luggage and your awesome luggage cover will be safe from wear and tear.
  • Lock before loading: It is extremely important to ensure that your luggage is secured before you send it off at the check-in counter. TSA locks should be properly locked and the number dial should be given a quick spin. If your luggage has outer zipper compartments, be sure to lock those, too. Don’t take any chances.

It is better to be safe than sorry. Happy traveling!