You've just stepped off the plane in your new destination. Over the last few hours, you've subjected yourself to pat downs, security checks, long lines, cramped seating and terrible food. And now that you're finally off your flight, that holiday you've been waiting half of the year for is so close you can almost taste it.
The only problem is, if you've checked a bag (or two or three), you'll have to wait for it to come around the dreaded airport carousel. And if you're looking to savour every minute of your annual vacation, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the rest of your flight is definitely not where you want to be spending the first hour of your trip.
Luckily, there are a few tricks that can bump up your luggage's arrival time at baggage claim, and they don't involve buying a first-class ticket or bribing your flight attendants.
The first is to ask the representatives at check-in to stick a 'fragile' sticker on your suitcase. Bags that are marked as fragile will often be loaded after all of the other luggage has and will come out first at the carousel. Better yet, this trick should also work if you have a connecting flight and need to switch planes - and fragile stickers are free! Keep in mind though that once in a while, handlers may miss or not notice that your bag is marked as fragile.
A better tactic is to wait to be the last person to check in. Ramp worker and gate agent Thomas Lo Sciuto suggests on Quora: "Bags will always be loaded front to back on the bag carts, so if you check in last, your bags will be in the last bag cart, which will make them the last on the aircraft, and the first off the aircraft at your destination. The same logic goes for the other end. If they are the first off the aircraft, they will most likely be the first on the bag carts and then the first to be unloaded at baggage claim."
Not a last-minute kind of person? There's another option! If you're not checking in any liquids over 100ml (or any other items that can't go in a carry-on bag), you can make sure your luggage comes out first by gate checking your bag. Since baggage handlers have already loaded on all the luggage that was checked in by people when they arrived at the airport, your gate-checked bag will likely be put on the flight last, and therefore come out first.
Try these tricks out during your next holiday and say goodbye to waiting at baggage claim forever!