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Luggage Sorting/Grouping Protocol

Requires no additional airport infrastructure, and it’s DIY
 
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There are two problems with luggage carousel efficiency at any airport:

1) Even though your bags are together when you check in for your flight, they inevitably become randomly distributed throughout the luggage carousel upon arrival. You now must wait for the carousel to make one or more revolutions before collecting all of your luggage. Each traveler is forced to stand around the carousel for an extended period of time, impairing the view and access of other travelers. A bottleneck occurs.

2) Most luggage looks similar in color and style. Dark green, or black Pullman style suitcases make up a majority of luggage. You need to get close-up to the carousel to properly identify your luggage. This increases the density of the carousel crowd, aggravating the bottleneck problem.

My simple solution is to tag all your luggage with large, easily identifiable letters or symbols on each larger surface of each bag. These would be sewn on, attached with pop rivets, stenciled with spray-paint, etc. For example: a large (15 cm) "Q" is painted on the front and back of your suitcase(s). Now, you can stand back from the crush of travelers at the carousel, and still have a better chance of differentiating your dark green Pullman from the 17 other dark green Pullman suitcases on the carousel.
The baggage handling crew would notice several bags emblazoned with a large "Q" and be compelled to place them together on the carousel. Perhaps this is being optimistic, but all primates are capable of this type of sorting. This might take a while to catch on.

Sorting luggage in this way has benefits: luggage is easier to identify; any particular traveler is more likely to get all baggage at once, thus leaving the carousel area and creating space for others.

Your personal luggage identifier does not need to be unique; a single letter adds a level of sorting that reduces the amount of searching that needs to be done. Add another letter ("QZ") for additional sorting. One caveat: your luggage identifier should not be easily misconstrued, e.g. do not use "CDG", unless you have a one-way ticket to Paris via Charles de Gaulle.

xrayTed, Dec 30 2002

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       [waugsqueke]: true enough. However, if luggage travels more or less together straight from the check-in counter, there is greater impetus to continue this behaviour (when practical).
If I were handling luggage, and came across a bag that was labeled "ELVIS", and then saw another bag already on the carousel labeled "ELVIS", my natural inclination would be to set them side-by-side.
xrayTed, Dec 30 2002
  

       Croissant for effort. Waiting for all of the bags to come out is a hassle. I partially do this already in that the bag I usually use for overseas travel is a bright orange colour and stands out quite well on a carousel.
madradish, Dec 30 2002
  

       Paint is messy. You can get brightly colored tape which you can use to make letters or symbols that are recognizable a mile away on your luggage. Baked in that we already do this.
egnor, Dec 30 2002
  

       ''My simple solution is to tag all your luggage with large, easily identifiable letters or symbols on each larger surface of each bag."

You could tag all your luggage with large orange fluorescent tape letters that spelled out "B-O-M-B" and be pretty certain of having an entire luggage carrousel all to yourself. It's even likely that there will be a number of nicely uniformed gentlemen standing ready and very willing to help you collect your baggage and assist you into a nearby waiting vehicle.

Either that, or you may find that your luggage visits Bombay, India, a great deal more frequently than you do.
jurist, Dec 31 2002
  
      
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