Jul 28 , 2021
Should You Shrink-Wrap Your Checked Luggage?
For: Fodor's Travel | By: Harriet Baskas | September 6, 2019
Wrap your luggage in plastic before putting it on a plane costs money and looks odd, but there are plenty of reasons to say yes.
International travelers do it all the time. We’ll take you through the pros and cons of wrapping your luggage and unravel the mystery of how wrapped bags arrive intact even after TSA have looked inside.
(1) Security, (2) Safety, and (3) Suitcase Longevity are the key reasons for wrapping luggage.
(1) Security-wise, wrapping your luggage reduces the risk that someone, such as a baggage handler, will take something out of your bag. It also means there is less likelihood that any number of people with access to your luggage once it leaves your hands will be able to put something inside.
Sounds unlikely? Consider the recent news about a ring of airline and airport workers at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport who were offering to smuggle drugs, weapons and plastic explosives between airports in passengers’ checked bags.
(2) Safety-wise, wrapping luggage in plastic lowers the chance that a worn or overstuffed suitcase will burst or pop open in transit and spill its contents before being reunited with its owner. If you’ve busted a bag’s latch or zipper while traveling, wrapping the bag will at least help you get your belongings home.
(3) And when it comes to suitcase longevity, wrapping a piece of checked luggage in plastic can help protect it from dings, scratches, grease, spills, snow, or rain.
Other Benefits? In most cases, the price you pay to get your bag wrapped comes with some extra services and assurances.
Bags are usually weighed before they’re wrapped, giving passengers a chance to avoid over-weight charges by removing and repacking items before the bag gets to the check-in counter. (A tag on the wrapped bag records the weight, in case there’s a discrepancy at the counter scales.) Wrapping stations often sell small duffels and carry-on bags for any extra items.
In most cases, the wrapping stations are located on the airport departure levels, near airline check-in counters. In some airports, there may be stations set up in a bag claim area and/or a rental car facility as well.
Everything You Need to Know About Plastic-Wrapping Your Luggage
For: Conde Nast Travel | By: Katherine Lagrave | Octobrer 15, 2018
If you've been in an international airport in the last, oh, 20 years, you've no doubt seen those travelers: the ones wheeling plastic-covered suitcases or getting them spun in several layers of the stuff at kiosks sprinkled throughout the terminal. But what are the rules surrounding plastic-wrapped baggage, and what's it actually for? We dive in.
First things first: Why are people doing this?
An extra layer of protection, for starters. Baggage handlers have to move bags off and on planes quickly, and don't discern between run-of-the-mill luggage and your more expensive pieces when loading and unloading. (One handler even previously told Traveler contributor Cynthia Drescher, "I see a lot of Louis Vuitton luggage, but having an expensive bag doesn't mean I'm going to treat it with kid gloves.") The plastic acts as a shield against scrapes, gashes, bumps, and bad weather, and will help prevent a full bag from bursting open. It may also deter would-be thieves from rifling through your stuff.
What other security does this offer?
Bags wrapped by ProtecBag receive a free sticker that allows the bag to be traced.
Where can I find companies that will wrap my suitcase?
These services are plentiful at international airports in South and Latin America, Europe and Asia.
How long does it take?
About a minute—leaving you plenty of time to get that pre-flight Auntie Anne's.
Will the TSA unwrap my suitcase if it's wrapped in plastic?
If there's something flagged on their scanners—Explosive Detection System machines, or EDS—then yes. (The TSA says most bags screened overall by the system don't warrant a physical inspection.)
And will they rewrap it?
"The short answer is no, TSA does not re-wrap luggage," says a spokesperson. "But we make every effort to cause minimal impact on the luggage and its content by conducting targeted searches."
How much does it cost?
Prices vary by company, but the service usually costs between $15-20 for one regular-sized bag, and $22 and up for oversized/irregular items including golf clubs and bikes.
The Real Reason for Plastic Wrapping Your Luggage
For: Peter Greenberg Worldwide | By: Peter Greenberg | September 5, 2019
When you’re waiting at baggage claim, you’ll sometimes see suitcases wrapped in layers of plastic.
There’s a reason for plastic-wrapping your luggage, and it’s extra protection.
It’s a great deterrent against baggage theft, especially when you realize that bag thieves don’t steal bags as much as they take individual items of value from bags. A fully-wrapped bag is often too much trouble for them.
It’s certain that bag-wrapping companies also offer tracking stickers along with the plastic wrap.
Plastic wrap services are mostly available at European and Asian airports, but you can find secure wrap stations at JFK, Houston, and Miami airports. It only takes a minute or so to wrap your bag, but here’s one important caution. If the TSA opens your check-in bag for inspection — and it has the right to do this of course — it will not rewrap it for you.
Why do travelers wrap their luggage in plastic, and is it worth it?
For: The Telegraph | By Annabel Fenwick Elliott | December 12, 2019
Why does this service even exist? In looking for answers, I found 5:
1. That it protects your luggage from damage,
2. Deters thieves,
3. Weather-proofs it,
4. Makes it easily identifiable,
5. Reduces the risk of someone slipping illicit goods into your bag.