Suitcase selection – countermeasures
Buy a case that is easy to identify. Ideally you want to identify your case from a distance. Selecting a bright and unusual colour will help. It is easier to spot a bright yellow case on the baggage carousel than to pick a navy blue case out of the 300 navy blue cases whirling around.
If yours isn’t the only bright yellow or cherry red case add some extra identification, anything that will make your case stand out as yours. For example:
Stickers can make your case easy to spot. One neighbour worked for a toy company, and stuck toy stickers all over her cases, making them very easy to identify. Over time the stickers peeled off leaving nasty black sticky patches of grime, but she says that her cases are now the only yellow cases with nasty black sticky patches of grime on them!
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Luggage straps can help. They may be just bright colours or may have a name woven into the fabric of the strap. The straps I have seen are quite cheap and don’t offer strength or security. If they stay on they make it a little easier to identify the cases.
I have seen cases with painted diagonal stripes. The paint chips and wears off with use, but then I assume the owner simply applies a new coat of paint to the case and gives it time to dry.
My wife Rita favours wool as an identifier. At first I was sceptical. Having seen very strong cases crushed and chewed up by the systems and staff at airports, I didn’t think a few strands of wool would survive, but we tried it. She took a dozen strands of brightly coloured wool that were about six inches long, folded them in half and threaded them through the handle and tied them in a knot. That left each case displaying a scrawny red and yellow fringe around the handle. Four years later the wool is still there, and it is surprisingly easy to pick out our ‘fringed’ cases.
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Where possible buy cases with a hard shell. Soft cases offer less protection to the contents, and the soft fabric can be torn while in transit, exposing the contents to loss, dirt and weather.
With hard-shell cases, look for a watertight seal. This is a rubberised gasket around the edges of the case, which when closed and locked forms a waterproof seal.
The larger the case the more important it is that it has a built-in extendable handle and wheels so that it can be wheeled through the endless airport arrival and departure halls.
Some hard cases can even be used as a temporary seat. Simply stand them down, retract the handle and they are strong enough to sit on while you await a delayed flight or work your way towards baggage check-in.
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