If you need to check a bag when flying, the main thing you want is for your bag to arrive at the same airport as you at the same time. (If you’re curious, here’s a list of the airlines that are the best and worst at losing or mishandling your bags). Sure, there are smaller annoyances, like if something inside your bag gets broken. But in that case, at least you have your bag.
One of the things about travel that’s universally hated is the wait at baggage claim. Everyone from your flight is now standing around an empty conveyor belt, waiting for it to move. And even if it starts to move, that’s no guarantee that bags will arrive anytime soon.
We’ve shared some hints about how to make sure your bag is the first one off the flight. We were expecting some comments about how only amateurs have to check bags or maybe some ideas we didn’t think of. We didn’t expect someone saying they hoped that their bag would be the last one to get to baggage claim.
Why would anyone want that?
Because Delta and Alaska both offer a “20-minute guarantee.” If your bags are not at baggage claim 20 minutes after your flight arrives at the gate, you’ll get compensation of 2,500 Delta SkyMiles or your choice of 2,500 Alaska Mileage Plan miles or a $25 Alaska travel voucher. I had forgotten about this policy but it might come in handy over the busy summer travel season when leisure travelers are likely bringing plenty of luggage when going on vacation.
The policies are similar with slight differences in how to make a claim.
- Alaska – Since 2010 we have put a guarantee behind our baggage delivery. If your bags are not at baggage claim within 20 minutes of your plane’s arrival at the gate, we’ll offer you a $25 discount code for use on a future Alaska Airlines flight, or 2,500 Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan™ bonus miles. In the rare instance that we don’t meet our 20 minute guarantee, just get a hold of us at the baggage office within 2 hours of your flight’s arrival for your discount code or miles. You can simply speak with one of our customer service agents at the airport
- Delta -We’re committed to providing you with reliable and on-time baggage service every time you fly. That’s why we’re backing your bags with a guarantee: if your checked bag doesn’t arrive at the carousel in 20 minutes or less after any domestic flight, you are eligible to receive 2,500 bonus miles. Just complete the below form no later than three days after your flight’s arrival. Requests should only be submitted after your flight. Note that you must be a SkyMiles member at the time of travel to be eligible and requests for multiple flights must be submitted separately.
Both airlines also have exceptions for airport baggage system malfunctions, weather, or other conditions out of the airline’s control. Many of the delays in baggage delivery at our home airport of Orlando are caused by severe weather. Ground operations are stopped when lightning strikes within miles of the airport and a delay because of that isn’t eligible for reimbursement.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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I have purposely checked luggage just to collect the bonus. There are certain airports that baggage is slow so the chance of winning the bonus is higher. A few times, I even checked in garbage (and scored a win more than once!)