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Unfortunately you may be one of those people who has gotten off of a flight only to get to baggage claim and not see your checked bag until sometimes an hour later. What happens?  Since I work for an airline, I will tell you exactly what happens.


Depending on the size of the plane there may not be enough people working that are needed to take care of the flight. Ideally there should a couple of ramp agents handing your carry-on bags while a few other agents are unloading the plane but this doesn’t always happen.  So, if there aren’t enough people to work the flight, your checked bags can’t be unloaded until you and your fellow passengers get your carry-ons.


The local runner  (that’s who picks up ‘local bags’ – bags that aren’t transferring to another plane) isn’t assigned one gate, they may have ten gates. The runner has to wait until every piece of luggage is unloaded off of the plane before he can leave and go to the next plane. It can sometimes take 15/20 minutes to unload a plane.


If all ten planes come in at the same time (which happens more that you know) the local runner should get bags from each plane then drop them at the local belt then go back and get the bags from the other planes.

But that doesn’t usually happen.

The local runner will sometimes wait until ALL OF THE PLANES are unloaded THEN go by and get all of the local bags. It can take an hour for all of those planes to be unloaded which is why your bags can take so long.

 I hope that explains it. It doesn’t help you get your bags faster but at least now you know why.  

Thanks for reading!

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Some people travel. Roni IS travel. For over 20 years she has been traveling the world and now shares her unique insight with her worldwide audience on her blog, Whether you have never gotten on a plane or are a seasoned traveler, the expertise and insider knowledge she shares on her blog will help you make your travels an adventure. No where else can you find the uniquely helpful ins and out given to you by someone who has lived overseas for 4 years, speaks fluent English, French and Spanish, and works for a major airline. And guess what? She’s also a licensed elementary teacher and has an MBA.


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