Last year was the worst year for lost and mishandled baggage for 15 years, according to the US Department of Transportation.
For many people, the problems in 2006 came at the very worst time, with defective equipment and miserable weather conditions conspiring to leave thousands of people without their bags at Christmas.
A remarkable survey by Churchill Insurance in 2005 revealed that London travellers alone lost in excess of four million suitcases while travelling abroad in the previous year. A staggering 250,000 people reported that they had never been reunited with their bags and there is little evidence to suggest the situation is improving.
With this in mind, American Express has offered some sounds advice to those planning to jet off this year.
The first and most obvious tip is to tag all luggage, but American Express suggests that passengers should also put a copy of their name and address within the suitcase. This makes it much easier for airline employees to identify the owner if the tag is inadvertently removed.
Going a stage further, passengers are encouraged to take a photo of their bags before travelling. Scrambling for the right words to describe your favourite bag is never easy, especially while in a state of distress, and a photo can also prove useful when overcoming language barriers.
Ultra-cautious holidaymakers can also ship their luggage directly to their destination. This removes the possibility of the airline losing any bags and it also allows the passenger to avoid the check-in queues.
There is no guarantee that luggage will reach you undamaged, however, and there is always the slim chance that it will not turn up at all. To reduce the impact of such an occurrence, all travellers are advised to pack a few necessities in their hand luggage, including clothes, a toothbrush and prescription medication.
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