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The airlines estimate that millions of people are flying all around the year. and that means as many as tens of thousands of pieces of luggage checked in, and screened at airports. More than 99 percent of them arrive to their destinations on time and with their owners. But have you ever wondered what happens to your luggage after you check it.
Well, It turns out that the answer to that is a long and winding path on a series of conveyor computer guided belts. that total nearly between 9.5 and 11 miles, carrying more than 50,000 bags every single day. And that number change from one airport to another, and change also from the traveling time.
Usually what most people see is when they give the bags to the ticket counter. And the agent but the bag in a moving belt, after that the bags disappeared. and the owners don’t see their bags again until they get on the airplane. If they are lucky enough to see them get shipped inside the plane. But what they don’t see is what’s behind the counter.
The whole complex thing is happened in the luggage room underneath the airport.
In this article I will give you everything you need to know from what will happen to your luggage after you check-it in, until you get it back when you arrive.
The Journey Starts With The Counter Load Belts
The moment you give your bag to the ticket counter agent, your bag started it’s journey. The agent put your bag in a conveyor belt and very quickly the bag passes through a giant TSA scanning machines looking for explosives.
If your luggage is one of the very few that trips the alarm. The screening officers could send it for a hand search, where it’s getting open and hand searching by the TSA agents. But don’t worry too much about that, just 5% of bags are ever physically open.
One of the things that make the alarm beeping is laptops, food, gifts, wine bottles, and some other stuff.
The security cameras record everything, in case a traveler claim something is missing. And if one of the TSA agents caught stealing, than they end up being fired, and getting subject to criminal prosecution by local authorities.
Now the most important part of bag security is that the bags need to be flat, their needs to be flat down so they can be scanned properly before getting on the plane. The airport employee does not control the position of the bag, that’s why there’s a lot of technology on the belts that make the bag turn and be flat down.
Identify Where The Bag Needs To Go
Once your bag get passed the TSA scanner, it’s time for the airport to identify where they should but your bag, in which airline, and in which flight.
Now this part is different from one airport to another, but the common technique is by using a laser array that scans the barcode on bag tags. And by scanning that code it tells the system what flight, what airline, should that bags going to.
And for some few bags that don’t read properly by the laser. Just after that part there is a side belt that the bags will divert and going to the manual encoding station. Where the bag will be scanned by agents with a hand scanner and send it to where it needs to go.
Load The Bags Inside The Plane
After your bag scanned and identified, the one thing that left is loading them up inside the plane.
This final part of your luggage journey completed by the airline employees, that collect the bags and further divide them by first class and coach, depending on if they break those up into different containers, or different areas of the aircraft.
The employees put the bags into the containers of the cards, and then take them by a tug and a little train out to the airplane, and load them inside of it.
This specific part is the one that you see from the window of your plane if you have enough luck for it.
After the bags goes inside the airplane and everything goes as planned, the plane take off and fly to the destination. once you arrive, the employees take the bags from the airplane, and drive them through the airport, and but them into the conveyor belt to comes to you.
What If You Have a Layover Flight
Sometimes when you flying you have that middle point that the plane needs to stop for a couple of hours. But what happens to your luggage at that situation? and how they are getting from one plane to another one and gets ready to take off?
Will the answer to that is by using a huge moving roller coaster for luggage that chute the bags so fast up to 30 miles per hour and take them to where they need to be as quick as possible.
The reason why the roller coaster is super useful in a layover flight, because it is faster then the conveyor belts. If the airport use just the belts for this kind of flights, it will take a long time to move all the bags from one plane to another.
Why Sometimes Luggage End Up Lost
Most of the airlines claimed that the bags don’t get lost, it gets misdirected. They say that the bags just maybe get on the wrong flight, or they missed the flight they’re supposed to be on. There can be any number of reasons for that.
One of the best advice that any airline gives to their customers is bringing a carry on bag inside the airplane. every airline allow for one carry one bag and one personal bag, so in case your luggage has been mishandled or delayed, you will have at least a couple of clothing and some essentials that will help you until your bag returned.
You need to know that many airline companies take not accountability for lost valuables. And many of them have a disclaimer that they take no responsibility for lost valuable stuff. so always pack your valuables in a bag near you in order for them to be safe and secure.
And if your bags really get lost, the airline gives you a Compensation up to $ 3,500.To know more about lost luggage chick my other blog about it.
A lot of thought goes into your luggage when you head out on vacation: what to pack, how to pack it, carry it on or check it, how to keep your luggage safe and more. But, once you get to the airport your bag will no longer be with you, until you reach your destination.
It’s pretty amazing the amount of technology and hardware the airport do to get everyone’s bags at time and exact place. They spend millions of dollars to organize all that to one giant piece. But obviously you not get the chance to know what exactly happened behind the scenes.
In this article I showed you everything you need to know about the journey of your luggage inside the airport.
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