The Beauty of the Airline Baggage Tag

How luggage gone wrong gets right.

  1. The poet Maya Angelou once said you can tell a lot about a person from the way they respond to three things: a rainy day, tangled Christmas lights, and lost luggage.

    Maya, Maya. Where were you at 2 a.m. the dark night I arrived in Paris without my bags? I needed my suit for the next morning, not folksy aphorisms or your musings on why the caged bird sings. Personally, I find the caged bird sings most beautifully when he has his laptop charger and toothbrush.

    We’ll never know quite how Dr. Angelou would cope with the news that a vacation’s worth of clean underwear has been flown to the wrong Portland. But she’s right to suggest that lost luggage is a near-universal experience. Every frequent traveler will at some point face the drifting tumbleweed on the baggage belt.

    Still, if most of us have a tale of luggage gone wrong, it’s not because airlines lose a lot of bags. It’s because we fly so much. In July alone, 53 million passengers boarded domestic flights. Only about one-thir...

The complete text of “The Beauty of the Airline Baggage Tag” is not in the Byliner library, but we love it so much we included an excerpt and a link to the full story on www.slate.com.

Originally published in Slate, October 2012

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