Where Does Your Luggage Go?

Ever wonder what happens to your checked bag once you get settled in the boarding lounge? After you bid your luggage bon voyage at check-in, it takes a journey of its own until you’re reunited at your destination. But where does it go?

1. The weigh-in

If you’re packing right, the weigh-in should be stress-free for you and your bag. Checked baggage (max 50 lbs. / 23 kg) is weighed, given a unique code, tagged and placed on a conveyor belt. Now it’s ready for the next step en route to takeoff. Read the ins and outs of permitted and non-permitted items according to Canadian Air Transport Security Authority regulations.

2. Baggage handling

Next, it’s off to the automated system. More than just a series of conveyor belts designed to transport luggage from A to B, it detects jam-ups, counts bags, and uses a tag reader to scan and point each piece in the right direction.

3. Checked baggage inspection

Luggage heads to an X-ray for screening to examine the contents and make sure they comply with regulations. If a bag warrants additional review, it undergoes a physical search by an agent from CATSA or the TSA. Should your suitcase be selected for further examination, they’ll leave a note to let you know they were there.

4. Onto the baggage cart

After luggage is screened and cleared, it gets transferred to a cart and waits to board.

5. Ramp up and get in line

On the tarmac, bags line up for loading onto the aircraft — as if they’re standing by in their own lounge.

6. Load it and hold it

Finally, it’s time for your luggage to “find its seat.” Suitcases and backpacks, duffels, strollers, bikes and sports equipment all travel together in the cargo hold.

7. Safe landing

Now that you and your bag have arrived safely at your destination, baggage handlers release it from the hold.

8. Baggage carousel

This is the last leg of the trip your luggage takes alone. Once unloaded, it’s transported to the terminal and placed on another conveyor so you and your bag can be reunited.

9. And…voila!

Read more in re:porter Issue 70, on flights now. Find flights and book now.