Travel agent offers tips on how to keep track of luggage when flying

Southwest Airlines is still working to get luggage to customers who have been without their things since the end of December.  One section on the bottom floor of Orlando International Airport (OIA) is still blocked off for Southwest Airlines where hundreds of suitcases can be found. 

Customers DeDe Smith and James Bullock arrived at the check-in area Wednesday. A week after landing at OIA, staff have only located one of their three suitcases.

"Here's the luggage. I'm waiting. When I was up there a few minutes ago, they couldn't find my luggage," said Smith. 

She's not sure if the bags are in Orlando and when to expect them, but Southwest hopes it's soon. "We intend nearly all baggage delayed during the recent holiday travel week to be shipped or delivered by midweek," the company posted an update on its website Tuesday.

RELATED: Many travelers still searching for lost luggage after Southwest Airlines struggles

Smith also said when she gets her luggage, she plans to add an Apple Air Tag to them. The tiny device syncs with your iPhone to track the location of the item to which it is attached. The device's popularity has skyrocketed after travel and luggage issues with Southwest over the holidays. 

According to Business Insider, it's the third best-selling electronic device on Amazon and Google searches for the device have grown more than 5,000% over the past year. 

Travel agent Jenn Lee said it's not clear how airlines may incorporate your Air Tag into its search for your luggage, but it may be helpful.  "More about you having that level of support to say, ‘Here is where my bag is,’" said Lee, VP of Industry Engagement Travel Planners International.

To try to limit luggage headaches, she also suggests: 

  • Download the airline's app to track bags while traveling.
  • Purchase travel insurance.
  • Clearly label your bags with your contact information.
  • If traveling with others, mix items between luggage so if only one suitcase arrives on time – each person will have a little of what they need.
  • Maximize your carry-on luggage, so you don't have to check in as much luggage.
  • Consider sites that will do extra leg work for you if your bag is lost. Some sites include, "Where's My Suitcase" or "Blue Ribbon Bags."

"With Blue Ribbon Bags, you pay a fee, guarantee [they] will search for you. They'll look for 24 hours. If they can't find it, will refund you up to $1,000," said Lee. 

Southwest is also directing customers to its Travel Disruptions page if they're still having issues getting their luggage.