I'm giving serious thought to, the next time I go to Florida, because I will want to go to the Art Of Animation Resort again, going for more than a week.
This presents a problem -- a longer trip means I might actually need to check a bag, as my carry on and duffle bag strategy might not be feasible.
The problem is, airlines, while they have improved considerably in not losing bags, still suck. United, which I just flew, has a horrible record. Southwest has seen its percentage go up, even after spending a bunch of cash to upgrade its baggage handling system. The airline with the best record for handling luggage, Virgin Airways, only flies to Orlando from LA, not Chicago. I would be rolling dice.
So I decided to talk with the experienced travelers on the channel. My primary goal: seeking ways to minimize airlines losing luggage.
And it turns out, there are a few things that can be done.
* If you're really hardcore, there are GPS luggage bugs you can put in your bags. They send their signal, and you can track it on your smartphone. It won't keep it from getting lost, but it will make it easier to locate if it gets delayed.
* Those of us who are really paranoid can turn to UPS. No kidding. Shipping a 50 lb suitcase to Orlando by 4 day service is about $65. That gets you a tracking number and all sorts of shit. If you plan ahead and time it, you can have your gear on the road and arriving the day you arrive at the hotel.
* Get to the airport as early as possible. This gives more time for the bag to make it through the standard screening process instead of being rushed and possibly misplaced.
* Make sure it is a direct, non-stop flight. This means your bag is handled only twice -- once to put on the plane, and once to take off. Any time they have to mess with the cargo hold, you add another chance of something going awry.
* Here's the best one -- make your bag uniquely identifiable. Some of the coders mentioned that, in their rush to get their bags and get somewhere, they have grabbed the wrong suitcase. After all, there's several black or grey uprights out there (I noticed this when trying to keep an eye on my carry on, and found it in the middle of five bags that looked almost identical), and mistakes can happen. Some people put colored ribbons or duct tape around the handles to identify them. Then there's the ever popular personalized luggage tags (found some Twilight Sparkle ones for $5 each).
The fine and upstanding Faffy Waffle then suggested the ultimate -- luggage with your own image custom printed onto it. "There's a company that will put your image on a 24" hardcase spinner, $165."
One of the guys said, "Oh, them. I asked for one of my favorite sports teams, and they said nothing you don't own the rights to. So, sorry, Peter, but if you want a mermaid, you can't have Ariel, you have to design your own."
Before I could respond, one of the mods wrote, "You are aware he has his own comic book series with mermaids, right?"
Now THAT'S a one of a kind item!