Our luggage goes on a journey of its own in our travels and it is not always a pleasant one. From baggage handlers to the carousel, to a series of trolleys and then to the crowded overhead compartment of the plane. The luggage is bound to collect several scratches and bumps along the way.
According to the Air Travel Consumer Report from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the month of May 2021, airlines in the United States have mishandled around 1.2 million bags this year. The claims for all damaged, lost, delayed, or pilfered baggage comes under mishandled baggage. One of the best ways to ensure that your baggage escapes unscathed by these elements is by using luggage protection covers come.
Luggage protection covers are usually constructed with plastic or cloth, and fit snugly onto your luggage. They not only protect your luggage from nicks and scratches, but also make it distinguishable at the airport.
There are several advantages to using luggage covers.
- Luggage protection covers help in keeping the luggage clean, and protect it from the rigours of travel which contribute to its wear and tear. They also protect the luggage from the elements of the weather. They are especially useful for people who use soft-sided fabric bags and suitcases, which can get soaked easily in the rain.
- As they are available in a variety of patterns, they can be easily spotted from a sea of similar-looking bags in the carousel.
- They also protect your luggage from accumulating dust in storage when they are not being used.
- They are good for ensuring that your bags are not stolen or tampered with.
- Prevents your items from getting scattered in case of the luggage bursts open. The luggage covers ensure an additional safety mechanism which is especially useful if you are not confident in the zippers of your suitcase.
1. Material: Luggage covers come in a wide variety of materials, and majority of them are made of elastic polyester blend and spandex. The material of spandex covers can stretch significantly and fit onto a variety of similarly-sized suitcases. They also ensure a snug fit, which prevents the fabric from flopping around the bag, and makes moving the luggage around easier. The Spandex and elastic polyester blend covers are also quite popular among people because they come in a variety of colours and patterns. Besides these, luggage covers are also made from transparent PVC material. The PVC covers are waterproof and thick, which prevents any dust from entering, while also protecting the bags from bumps.
2. Size: It is very important to measure the cover according to the dimensions of your luggage. This is because there is no one-size-fits-all in luggage protection covers.
3. Closure: The closure of the luggage protection cover is also an important factor in determining the effectiveness of its use. It is the durability of the closing mechanism which keeps the contents of the bag from pilfering out due to damage to the luggage. The closure, which is usually in the form of a zipper or Velcro, is located at the bottom of the cover, near the wheels of the suitcase. There is also the option of additional fastening provided by the buckle straps. The closures with zipper mechanism are generally considered more durable as compared to Velcro.
Baggage wrapping services
An alternative to the luggage protection covers is the bag wrapping services, which are available at most airports. Secure Wrap is one of the biggest providers of this service. The stations for Secure Wrap are located in the departure levels of around 54 airports around the world, in 17 countries. A machine is used to wrap the luggage with a non-toxic, 100 per cent recyclable, and tamper-proof plastic film. This plastic film not only prevents pilfering of the items in the bag, but also protects the exterior of the luggage from damage and foul weather.
- Deterrent for thieves: The baggage wrap is usually sealed tightly around the luggage, which ensures that it is tamper-proof. It acts as a deterrent to the thieves as it allows the passenger to easily spot if their luggage has been tampered with. If the plastic wrapping is cut through, it shrinks rapidly and creates an evident hole. These holes serve as an indicator to the passenger, allowing them to file for claims quickly.
- New technology in baggage wrapping: Bagging wrapping services offered by Secure Wrap also feature advanced protection and tracking technologies. This is in the form of a unique QR code that is placed on the luggage when it is wrapped by the machine. The QR codes usually contain information about the passenger, including their name, contact, flight number and departure city. This makes it easier to contact them in case their luggage gets lost in transit or even stolen.
Luggage Protection Covers and TSA
Any and all kinds of luggage protection covers are allowed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for both carry-on and checked baggage. However, since no luggage is immune to potential inspection by the airport security, the covers can be removed to gain access to the baggage for inspection.
Suitcases and bags that come with PVC or spandex covers are easier to remove during inspections by the TSA, and are almost always rewrapped after inspection. While the airport authorities try to ensure that most of the luggage is rewrapped after inspection, the ones wrapped at bag wrapping stations of the airport need to be cut through. The soft-sided bags are especially susceptible to damage, as it is often difficult to remove the luggage wrapping without slicing through the bag. In such a case, the TSA is not liable for any kind of damage that may be caused to the bags. While re-wrapping luggage is not usually offered post-inspection, baggage wrapping offered by Secure Wrap are only ones authorised by the TSA to do that. They usually offer complimentary rewrapping if any luggage is opened by the TSA for secondary inspection.