baggage travel tips

Travel Chaos - 7 Tips For Your Baggage From a Pilot

Dear Aviator,

Summer time has landed, Corona restrictions are almost non-existent, everyone wants to travel again but the aviation industry is not ready for the post Corona boom. Personally I knew that something like this travel chaos would happen. Airports and airlines shorten their staff extremely and now this is the result. The aviation industry was not prepared for this and cannot react fast enough because missing staff need time to be trained. In the end you and other Aviators have to take the bait of the mismanagement. Next to a lot of flight cancellations a lot of luggage gets lost or delayed. a lot of chaos. I am here to help you!

baggage travel tips

Living a travel life for over 12 years, I have some useful hacks. Here are my baggage tips, which help to keep your stress level low, reduce waiting time and enhance your travel experience. Not only this crazy summer but whenever you travel to see the world.

1. Invest In High Quality Baggage 💸

That’s my golden rule when it comes to baggage. Do not attempt to save money on cheap products – invest in high quality luggage pieces. Really thank me later for that! What’s the point of buying cheap when it breaks after a few journeys or you cannot repair it because it is from a no-name brand. There is a saying in Germany. “Those who save, pay double in the end”. 

When I started flying 12 years ago I bought a pilot business trolley and a medium size suitcase made of aluminium, from the brand Rimowa. Even then the set was quite expensive but I still have them and use them. I’ve only had to have minor repairs done to them, like fixing the wheels or the rubber sealing. 

I recommend getting hardcase suitcases made of aluminium and not poly carbonat. The downside of a “plastic” suitcase is when the case breaks you will not be able to fix it. But with an aluminium case you will be able to remove the tend.

baggage travel tips
baggage travel tips

My suitcase set I got 2010 when I started flying

2. Fly With Hand Luggage Only 🛫

I know  it is not easy. I always have huge problems packing lightly but in this current travel chaos it is definitely a lifesaver. Of course, when going on a 3 week trip it will be extremely difficult to travel light,  but when going on a city trip for a few days, it should be possible. Think carefully about what you really need on your trip. You can always get heavy toiletries at your destination and when you need extra clothing go shopping!

Due to overloads at the airports, a lot of checked-in luggage does not reach their destinations with your travels. So it is advisable to travel with just hand luggage at the moment.

baggage travel tips

3. Track Your Baggage 📲

It is the worst feeling to discover  that your luggage has got lost and the airport does not have a clue where it is. On one of my last trips, my check in luggage was gone for over 10 days. Only by annoying the airline hotline and being proactive in finding my suitcase, was I able to retrieve it. I took a taxi and drove to the luggage depot close to the depot myself. Luckily I did, because otherwise I would still be waiting on the delivery! Due to an IT issue, all personal data connected to the suitcase was incorrect. 

So consider getting a GPS tracker, which shows you where your precious piece of luggage is at any moment. Apple offers their Airtag (please note it only works when an iPhone is close by) but there are cheaper alternatives on the market as well.

baggage travel tips

Approaching Cannes Airport, South of France

baggage travel tips

4. Know Your Baggage Rights ⚖️

It is extremely important to know your passenger rights when your piece of luggage gets lost or is delayed. There is a maximum compensation for a lost suitcase; there are deadlines to notify your issue; and there is a limited budget when your baggage is delayed at your destination. Here you can find all relevant passengers rights concerning baggage. 


Sieh dir diesen Beitrag auf Instagram an


Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

5. Know The Maximum Dimensions 🎛

Knowing the maximum dimensions of your luggage will definitely avoid hassle, anger and save you a lot of money.  Be aware that the hand luggage dimensions and the maximum weight guidelines differ from airline to airline. Double check before heading to the airport or even when booking your flight ticket because nowadays a carry-on piece is not included with some operators. In instances where your high quality travel accessory is too big or heavy at the airport, the airline can charge you significantly extra for it. This can definitely ruin your travel mood.

baggage travel tips

Uniform photo shooting in Barcelona 2016

6. Back up in your Hand Luggage 💼

This is another pro trip I learnt from travelling non stop. Try not to be dependent on your checked in luggage. Always pack important stuff like medicine, documents and valuables in your carry on luggage. Moreover, put some clothing in there as well so you will be able to survive a few days without your checked in bag. This can be a life saver should your baggage be delayed – so you do not need to spend unnecessary time buying clothing you might not use again.

baggage travel tips

Pack the things you really need!

7. Get Insurance for your Baggage 💳

For example, the maximum compensation you can get for a lost bag is 1.385€ per passenger and piece. My Rimowa trunk suitcase is worth over 1.100€ without any content. So when travelling with expensive stuff it is advisable to get extra insurance for your luggage. Online I found an insurance company which protects your bag for up to 5.000€ for 60€ a year. Flying and travelling a lot increases the probability of losing a bag significantly. Keep this in mind!

I hope you enjoyed my article: “Travel Chaos – 7 Tips For Your Baggage From a Pilot”. Please do not forget to like the blog post and let me know in the comments if you have another great tip!

Happy and relaxed landings!

Your PilotPatrick