This page explains how globalbagtag.com was founded, and gives details on the worldwide problem that is lost luggage.
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The words of globalbagtag.com founder Chris Truelove.
The idea for globalbagtag.com came about when my wife and I were travelling to Australia, via Bali. We checked in two suitcases at London Heathrow with one of the worlds "leading airlines". On arrival in Bali, only one of our suitcases came off the carousel. Luckily for me the missing case mostly contained my wife's underwear, though for some reason she did not seem to relish the thought of three weeks without knickers quite as much as I did!
To cut a long story short the airline had no idea where our bag was, we had to give a description of the suitcase, (one of the millions of black Samsonites circling the globe) and the contents. (Try translating 'Gossard Wonderbra' into Balinese!). This was apparently telexed around all the various airports, but to no avail. The best guess of the airline staff was that the destination barcode had come off the case and it was in one of the regional lost luggage warehouses, along with thousands of other black Samsonites. Not exactly lost, just untraceable to the owner.
Though I can joke about it now the whole incident was most distressing at the time, and even more so when we discovered that the airline was only prepared to pay out £211 (US$330) compensation based on the weight of the lost bag, not the actual value. They quote The Warsaw Convention, which limits their liability to US$20 per Kg, not much when the average suitcase itself costs around £100. (US$140) On the face of it things are set to improve with the newly ratified Montreal convention, which increases the Airlines liability but puts the onus on the passenger to prove the actual value of lost items by production of original receipts.
We were sat one evening (knickerless!) thinking how this could happen in this day and age, if only there was a way a bag could have some identity number fixed onto it which could identify that bag as belonging to the owner. I came up with the globalbagtag.com idea. With the Internet being available worldwide 24 hours a day and no worries about different time zones, it provided the perfect solution.
It was not until I started to look into the world of lost luggage that I began to realise just how big the problem was. Of course, the airlines try not to give too much publicity to luggage problems, but the US Department of Transport produce some staggering figures.
|5||AMERICA WEST AIRLINES||6,637|
|10||DELTA AIR LINES||30,939|
|15||AMERICAN EAGLE AIRLINES||10,359|
|16||ATLANTIC COAST AIRLINES||7,745|
|17||ATLANTIC SOUTHEAST AIRLINES||12,909|
TOTAL BAGGAGE REPORTS-For the domestic system only.
More Details can be found at the US Department of Transportation web site, www.dot.gov/airconsumer
As for the UK, this government is not quite as keen to publishing statistics. However the Air Transport Users Council latest annual report states; "A dramatic increase (more than 50%) in the number of misshandled bags." The Air Transport Users Council Web site has the full report www.auc.org.uk
As you can see, worldwide the problem is vast. On the lighter side, all this lost luggage is good news for some people. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama USA, sells millions of items of lost luggage. You can even buy online at www.unclaimedbaggage.com