Baggage Blues: The Real Reason Your Luggage Takes Forever

If you’ve ever had the experience of going down to the baggage claim and immediately picking up your bag off of the conveyor belt, you are one of the very few. For most, it takes a lot longer. Why?

Baggage can take a long time because multiple flights often land at the same time. A baggage handler is assigned to check the bags as they come off the plane and ensure that all of them are unloaded. They will then be brought to the baggage claim and loaded onto the belts.

In addition, there may be a delay if there is inclement weather in the area. The baggage will still be unloaded and brought to the conveyor belt but it may take a lot longer to do so.

Manchester International Airport Baggage Claim 2022

If one of the baggage handlers is assigned to multiple landing aircraft, they may decide to gather all of the bags from each of the aircraft and bring them all to the baggage claim at the same time. They will then be loaded onto the conveyor belt, but there will be a large delay between the two.

This can be a very frustrating situation, especially if you have to catch another flight or if you have plans and just want to get started at your new location. Standing and watching other people pick up their bags is also frustrating, especially if yours always tends to come off last.

There are a few things you can do to make this a little less frustrating. This can include planning your departure from the aircraft.

Most people tend to rush off of the aircraft and down the baggage claim in the hopes that they will get their baggage almost instantly. That very rarely happens.

Taking your time when you get off of the airplane and perhaps even grabbing a coffee on the way down to the baggage claim will make it a lot more endurable for you.

It won’t necessarily get your baggage to you any faster, but you will not have to wait as long at the baggage claim.

How Long Does It Take For Baggage To Get To Baggage Claim?

As you likely know, the baggage does not come to the baggage claim automatically and it certainly doesn’t happen instantly. How long does it typically take for the baggage to get there?

Generally speaking, you are going to wait anywhere from 15-45 minutes after you disembark the airline before your baggage is returned. This is only a general time, and it can go a lot longer, depending on the circumstances surrounding your flight.

I personally waited 90 minutes at Manchester International. Not fun after a trans Atlantic overnight flight..

If you are traveling on a large aircraft and everyone is departing at your destination, it is going to take a lot longer to get your baggage at the baggage claim.

This is because all of the baggage has to be unloaded by the baggage handler and taken to the baggage claim before it is even put on the conveyor belt.

In addition, if you are traveling to a part of the world where people tend to wear more clothing, such as a colder climate, you may find that you are waiting longer at the baggage claim as well. This is due to the fact that people tend to pack more luggage, so there is more luggage to handle.

One other factor to be considered is the way that the bags are handled at the airport. This is going to differ from one airport to the other, so some of them are going to have a reputation for getting your bags to you quickly and others are going to have a reputation for taking their time.

It’s always a good idea to do a search on the specific airport and see where they land. It may not get the bags to you quickly, but at least you will know what you are up against.

Check out this YouTube video that shows where your baggage travels after being checked in at the airport.

Do Airlines Compensate For Delayed Baggage?

If you have any delayed baggage, can you expect some compensation from the airlines?

If your baggage is truly delayed, meaning it does not arrive at the proper destination, the airlines are responsible for compensating you. This can include paying for any additional expenses that may be incurred at that time.

If you are standing at the baggage claim and your bag doesn’t arrive, you should immediately go to the airline to inquire about the location of the bag. They may not know, but at least they can get things moving in the right direction so that you can be compensated.

Don’t simply leave this in the hands of the airline.

Keep track of any expenses, including any incidental expenses, and file them with the airport. The airlines are not allowed to have a standard reimbursement in place so they will want a paper trail to follow.

How Can I Speed Up My Baggage Claim?

Are you looking for a way to speed up the baggage claim? You may not be able to speed things up behind the scenes, but you can get your luggage faster.

The best way to get your luggage as quickly as possible at the baggage claim is to check in last. Since your baggage is going to be among the last that is loaded onto the plane, it is going to be the first to come off.

You might also ask for the bag to be marked as fragile. They can give you a fragile sticker at the airport and you can affix it to the bag. It will be handled differently than the other bags (at least we hope).

Other options include joining a frequent-flier club or flying either business-class or first-class.

How Can I Avoid Losing My Luggage?

One other tip we would like to provide is how to avoid losing your luggage.

The only way to absolutely avoid losing your luggage is to carry on rather than checking a bag. Otherwise, you can plan your trip so that there are no fast layovers and mark your bag so that it stands out among the rest.

Fortunately, it is very rare for a bag to get lost completely. A small percentage are going to be delayed, but most will be found sooner or later.