I travel relatively a lot (not compared to some, but still) and what is the most common issue you face before even stepping on the plane? Packing! Most talked about issue when it comes to packing though is what to pack, but sometimes a more important one is where to pack it all in. When it really counts how good and durable your luggage is, is when travelling by plane. You most certainly don't want your suitcase to fall apart or pop open when the airport workers are throwing it around. I read a very helpful interview with an airport worker, or a ''luggage thrower'' you might call him. What he said is, well, that they don't call it ''throwing bags'' for no reason. One agent puts the bags on the belt loader, which carries it up to an agent inside the cargo hold who throws it 50 feet to the back where another agent stacks all the bags as if it were a game of Tetris. Suprised? I wasn't. Anyway, I got some great and useful information, which is why combined with some of my own wisdom that I gained travelling, I put together the below list of tips for avoiding unwanted luggage issues.

Click here to view my 7 tips.

Handlers see bags open all the time because zippers just start coming apart, and yes, things do fall out of these open bags. Sometimes, they see it and can put whatever came out back in the bag it came from, but sometimes there are just random items strewn around the belly. If it's a random piece of clothing or a shoe, those won't go down the baggage claim belt too well and just get discarded eventually. What you can do in order to prevent having your luggage damaged or lost is follow my tips. I would love to hear your suggestions too.


1. Don't pack fragile items, unless really well or originally packed.
Wheels and handles oftentimes break or crack on impact, and anything fragile inside that is not packed well doesn't stand much of a chance. Don't put red wine or alcohol in your suitcase ever and if you do, wrap it in a few layers of bubble wrap and wrap it in a plastic bag to prevent it from ruining your clothes in case it does break. And put it in the center of the suitcase, never on the bottom/top/edge. I would never check any fragile items in a soft sided suitcase, unless it was professionally packaged. Those fragile stickers don't get noticed very often in the rush of loading bags unless it is an obvious shape, such as a musical instrument - and even that may not be specifically cared for. 

2. Flying with larger aircraft usually means less throwing
One good thing about the larger aircraft (747, 767, 777, 787, etc.) is that they are all loaded by machines. Your bags are just put in a can and that can is loaded on the plane by machine so there is no bag throwing. Theoretically there's a better chance of your bag coming out unscathed if you fly on one of those jets.

3. Good quality luggage
Cheap bags break very easily. If your handle is sewn on or is very flimsy, it's probably going to break. Bags can also get damaged by loose ends getting caught in the belt, which can tear off straps, zippers or handles. Handles also break off if the bag is extremely heavy when they try to pick it up by the handle.  If you travel a lot or pack heavy, make sure you buy a quality, durable bag. Hard-sided suitcases will get less damage, but also look for well-designed handles that are attached with rivets and some sort of protection around the wheels. 

4. Spinner / suitcases with four wheels
Speaking of wheels, the best bags to get are the "spinners" with four wheels on the bottom. Handlers like these because they don't have to throw them when loading.They just roll them down the belly of the plane so your bag and its contents will suffer much less damage.

5. Lock it
There are no cameras inside the belly of the plane. What's recommended is when you have to check a bag, always use the TSA-approved locks to lock the suitcase. Not only to prevent someone from easily taking something, but also to keep the bag closed. 

6. Keep your bag tag receipt and plan more ground time
To prevent your bags from going astray, keep your bag tag receipt so you can track your bag. If it didn't get scanned on the flight, it will get scanned eventually when it reaches a station. Also, try to plan sufficient ground time for your bag to make its connection. Thirty or 40 minutes isn't always enough at a big airport like Heathrow.

7. Wrap it in plastic foil at the wrapping stand at the airport
Another thing I would highly, highly recommend is wrapping it in plastic. Many many airports have these plastic wrapping stands at the check in area where you can wrap your luggage. Many even offer warranty in case something happens to your luggage (theft, damage, if it gets lost etc.). Usually it seems ridiculously expensive for a piece of plastic foil around your suitcase, but I personally never skip it as I find it well worth it. First of all they wrap it really really good - they wrap it quite a few times, in multiple layer, providing your suitcase with a good plastic shell around it. The foil they wrap your suitcase in is hard to cut with regular scissors or knives, which is good at preventing theft. People who want to steal from people's suitcases are bound to pick unwrapped suitcases before wrapped ones. Another thing is it will keep it together. The foil is very tight and I am certain there is almost no way your suitcase could pop open or fall apart (a good thing for people like me, as I always pack so much I have to jump on the suitcase to close it. and my suitcase would most certainly fall apart or pop open if it wasn't wrapped in plastic). Thirdly, weather. The place where they load planes isn't protected from the weather. If you use fabric luggage, plastic will prevent rain, mud, snow etc from getting into or on your luggage, causing it to possibly damage it permanently. Also note that they will always cut out the foil from the wheels and handle area so you will still be able to carry it.

There are so many types of suitcases and bags that makes it tough for us to make the decision. From my experience, the best label is Samsonite. All my life my mom has been buying Samsonite luggage, which I would most certainly recommend! We have never had a bad experience with their suitcases and we got so many years of constant use from them (I'm talking 7-10 years with  4-5 plane trips a year and countless car/bus trips). They are on the pricier side, but when calculating the cost of buying new luggage every season, Samsonite pays off. Minus the worries you have everytime you check in a low quality luggage that not all of your belonging will come back. I often buy a cheap suitcase when I get too much shopping done abroad, just to bring the stuff home and very rarely is it still usable after 2 trips, so investing in good quality luggage is certainly worth it!


Any kind of feedback is appreciated