Airports are busy places: people hurrying to check in, getting anxious to be at their gate, and passengers getting off a plane rushing to the baggage claim. There are also people who are scurrying to stores, food stands, bars and bathrooms.

It all adds to a lot of people hustling around while dragging bags along with them. It also means there are plenty of opportunities to get in someone’s way. To the inexperienced, this can cause anxiety and confusion, and a little bit of stress. But by following a few basic rules of etiquette, we can all make each other’s airport experiences a little more pleasant. Here are our top luggage etiquette tips.

Make Your Claim

The biggest baggage-related complaint among travelers is people crowding around the carousel at baggage check. It’s a classic hurry up-and-wait situation, as people watch bags that aren’t their own go by, while not letting people in to grab their own.

“I don’t understand why everyone gathers so closely around the carousel,” says William Bauer, who travels often in his role as manager director of Royce Leather in Secaucus, New Jersey. “If everyone took one step back, everyone would be able to fit around it without standing on their tippy toes to see over your shoulder. It would also mean that you wouldn’t get smacked in the shins or elbowed in the face when someone hauls their case off the belt!”.

Be Mindful of Your Bag

Taking note of where your bag is and making sure it isn’t in the way of your fellow travelers can go a long way toward making the airport experience nicer.

When checking luggage, pay attention to the line and move forward as space opens up in front of you, bringing your baggage with you. Keep your bags next to you, don’t spread them out. When you get called up to check-in, focus on checking your luggage quickly so that the line moves.

If you’re wearing a backpack, be aware of where it is — you may not know it, but there’s an excellent chance you’re hitting people with it, especially if it’s over-packed. If the airport is crowded, do everyone a favor and carry the backpack in your hands.

With carry-on luggage, try to make sure you don’t leave it on the floor where it might be blocking the way This is especially true at the stores or food stands where people are trying to get to what they want to buy.

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Oh, You Should Have Checked that Bag

Ever since the airlines started charging baggage fees, people are testing the limits as to what constitutes a carry-on bag. Liz Dahl, a travel agent and travel writer who founded the website, says people purposely try to bring an oversized carry-on onto the plane, knowing it’s too big, so that it gets checked at the county, and a fee doesn’t have to be paid.

“This is a problem for the travelers who follow the rules,” Dahl says. “It also slows down the boarding process and makes extra work for the flight attendants. I honestly do not see a real solution to this as long as baggage fees apply. We can only hope that travelers will try to remember that they share space with others and follow the rules.”

Simply put, don’t try to cheat with the size of your carry-on bag. When boarding the plane, put your carry-on in the bin or under your seat quickly. Have anything you want during the flight (a laptop, tablet or old-fashioned book) out of the bag already so that you can put the carry-on away immediately.

Of course, the chances of all travelers following these rules and making airports pleasant are pretty much zero, but if you start practicing these suggestions, you can start making the change, one traveler at a time.

Having peace of mind that your luggage is where it’s supposed to be going can provide peace of mind, and put you in the right frame of mind so that you can be courteous to other flyers. LugLoc can help you take charge of your luggage.  

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