The Airline Quality Rating (AQR), which studies the performance and quality of the largest U.S. airlines, found that that the industry’s mishandled baggage rate fell from 3.24 per 1,000 passengers in 2015 to 2.70 per 1,000 passengers in 2016. Mishandled bags include claims for lost, damaged, delayed, or pilfered baggage.
But the numbers don’t matter when items have been stolen from your bag during your travels.
And that’s where Secure Wrap baggage protection service comes in.
Secure Wrap stations are located in the airport departure levels near check-in desks at 54 airports in 17 countries. The stations feature a machine designed to wrap and protect baggage using a 100 percent recyclable, non-toxic, tamper-resistant/evident plastic film in mere seconds.
“The Secure Wrap service is a theft deterrent as thieves look for easier targets when trying to pilfer through luggage,” said Gabriela Farah-Valdespino, the company’s marketing director. “It is also is a tamper-evident solution that acts as an alarm to notify a passenger that foul play occurred with their luggage.”
If someone tried to gain entry into the luggage, they would have to cut the film, said Farah-Valdespino. “Once cut, our plastic shrinks instantly, creating a hole in the film that can’t be concealed. These holes serve as an alarm or indicator that someone attempted to gain entry into your luggage.”
The Secure Wrap system not only prevents items from being removed but also protects from items, like drugs or money, being placed in luggage, said Farah-Valdespino. “If you claim your bag upon arriving at your destination with items that you did not check in, that can lead to a potential legal issue,” she said.
“It is not uncommon for baggage handlers in certain countries to use passengers to move illegal items unknowingly.”
If a customer arrives at their final destination and notices the plastic has been tampered with, it will prompt them to check the contents at the baggage claim, said Farah-Valdespino. “This allows our customers to fill out a baggage report with their respective airline at the airport, not when they arrive at home or to their hotel and notice that something is missing,” she said. “The Secure Wrap service also protects the exterior of the luggage during transit from scrapes and scratches, wear and tear, and damage from foul weather.”
Among Secure Wrap’s 54 locations are three U.S. airports — Miami International, JFK and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental. “Secure Wrap is most successful when the airports have a large volume of originating international enplanements – this is when international travelers originate their trip from the airport and check their luggage,” said Farah-Valdespino. “A lot of U.S. airports are hubs or mostly transfer flights, so our service does not benefit the passenger as they are not able to take advantage of it.”
U.S. passengers typically feel that their luggage is safer in America than when traveling abroad, said Farah-Valdespino.
“These passengers are not aware that any time you lose sight of your luggage, no matter the country, exists an opportunity for theft and manipulation.”
But this isn’t the case for other countries, where there is a real and great chance of an inside threat that a traveler’s personal belongings will be opened and perhaps taken, said Farah-Valdespino. “A lot of passengers come to the U.S. to take important or necessary goods back home and they can’t risk having them removed from their bags or even have items that aren’t theirs be put in as mules,” she noted.
U.S. passengers may be concerned about having their bags searched by the Transportation Security Administration, said Farah-Valdespino. “Secure Wrap is the only authorized provider to work with TSA in the United States and has worked with the agency since 2003,” she said.
“We offer a complimentary rewrap in the event a traveler’s baggage needs to be opened by TSA for a secondary inspection.”
For even more protection, Secure Wrap places a unique QR code on every bag it wraps, said Farah-Valdespino. “Customers can register their information with the QR code and in the event of loss, it can be traced back to them,” she said.
Airlines can scan the Secure Wrap QR code to obtain the passenger information. “Bags get lost when an airline tag is misplaced, causing them to have no idea to whom it belongs to. By scanning the QR code with any smartphone it will allow them to obtain the passenger’s name, email, flight number and departure city to more quickly reunite them to their lost luggage,” she said.
Secure Wrap charges $15 for a regular sized luggage and $22 for irregular or oversized items like strollers, wheelchairs, bikes and televisions. “Since our product acts as a deterrent or alarm, your bag is most likely going to be left alone. When your bag is wrapped in front of you, it helps you have the peace of mind that it is secured throughout its journey,” said Farah-Valdespino.