My career as a corporate entertainer has allowed me to travel across most of the globe. As a magician, it is vital that the airlines do not lose my luggage. While I always travel with enough equipment in my carry-on bag to perform a make-shift show, it is always much better to arrive with all of my props, clothing and other necessities.
The problems with luggage are many. First of all, your baggage ticket might somehow get accidentally ripped off of your bag during handling. I’ve had entire handles ripped off of my luggage before, so it’s easy to see how a paper tag might get lost. Whenever you receive your luggage tag, make certain to remove the extra little stickers, with the flight information, and stick them on different places around the bag. The airlines are supposed to do this themselves, but often do not. At least this way you can be sure that your flight information exists in more than one place on the bag.
Next, once a bag is lost, the airline needs to find your contact information somewhere on the bag. The little paper tags that the airline provide for your at the counter for this, are useless. Buy, at least two, luggage ID tags for each of your bags. I always have at least two or three. I then reinforce the straps with duct tape, because even those tend to get torn away from the bag during handling.
The next step is to take a few address mail labels and stick them in several places around the bag. Try to find places, for example under the handles, where they will not be accidentally removed.
The final insurance that my luggage, if lost, will be returned to me immediately, is perhaps the most drastic. I usually purchase black luggage, which happens to look just like everyone else’s luggage. In order to make mine stand out so that it is entirely recognizable from someone else’s luggage, and also to make absolutely certain that the airline knows whom this belongs to if it’s ever lost, is to spray paint my last name in giant, white letters right across the top. I use a stencil to do this on ALL of my bags and sometimes on 2 sides of each bag. I may look funny carrying this through the airport, but I’m fine with that, as long as I know that my luggage will be there when I need it.