The Red Luggage Travel ‘hack’ Is a Complete Lie

The Red Luggage Travel ‘hack’ Is a Complete Lie

The Red Luggage Travel ‘hack’ Is a Complete Lie

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The Red Luggage Travel ‘hack’ Is a Complete Lie

There’s a new travel video going around social media talking about the way bags are loaded onto planes, and it’s making some travelers say they’ll never buy red luggage again.

But one airline made it clear: the video is a total lie.

In the original video, posted on TikTok, the caption asks “do you know why red bags are loaded first?” And the answers given run the gambit, ranging from the logical (“They’re loaded first so that they can spot the last set of bags when offloading”) to the macabre (“It’s so if the plane crashes the red bags will fall out last so that it can signal to the planes that it’s there”) to the downright heartwarming (“because red is first on the rainbow.”)

@airportlife_ Boeing 737 loading! 💪🏻✈ #airport #aviation #aircraft #plane #flight ♬ i like the way you kiss me – Artemas

But whatever the reason is, the conclusion viewers drew from the video was that if red bags are loaded onto the plane first, that means they’ll come out of the plane last — and thus owners of red suitcases will wait the longest at luggage carousels to get their bags. In the comments, many viewers regretted their color choices, with one viewer going so far as to say “I should have seen this video before buying my red suitcase.”

However, viewers also called out the video as incorrect, with some commenters saying they worked for airlines and would never have time to sort bags by color. But one video promptly shut down the conversation, proving without a doubt that loading bags by color never happens. And it’s from the most reputable source: KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, the oldest continually operating airline in the world. It was founded in 1912, so needless to say, it has plenty of data on best practices to pull from.

And it doesn’t beat around the bush. In the video, the baggage handler makes it clear: the color of your suitcase doesn’t matter one bit when it comes to loading bags.

@klm @AirportLife✈ Have you been wondering for days why red bags are loaded first? Well, here is the truth! ✈ #KLM #Royaldutchairlines #redbags #luggage ♬ original sound – KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

KLM’s response mirrors what commenters who worked for airlines said on forums like Reddit. “110% false,” reads one comment. I worked ramp for 5 years. If we had taken the time and brain power to load bags based on color I’d still be loading flights from 2015.”

So what does determine the order in which your luggage is loaded? The answer is complicated, and depends on factors like the airline and the airport.  But having red luggage won’t change the speed with which your bag comes out. As it turns out, most airlines use a fairly logical system, loading bags belonging to passengers with tight connections last, so they come off first. At some airports, all luggage gets sent to a central area, where it’s scanned and sent either to the pick-up carousel or the next flight. At others, luggage belonging to passengers with short connections may bypass the middle step entirely, going straight from one plane to the next one. It just depends on the airport and airline.

red luggage stacked in a pile with other bags

Your bag’s durability is probably far more important than its color. Photo: Maurizio Milanesio/Shutterstock

This doesn’t mean your bag won’t ever miss your connection, but it does reduce the chance of it happening (though many airlines will give you compensation if your bag is late, too). Whether you’re traveling with just a carry-on or do plan on checking a bag, more important than the color may be the durability. As you can see from the video, bags get stacked on top of one another, bumped around, and roughly moved between conveyer belts and stowage compartments. So if you’re getting new luggage, you may want to prioritize luggage that’s been put through the wringer during testing more than anything else.

Need new luggage (red or otherwise)? Check out Matador’s tested recommendations:

  • How This Hardshell Roller Got Me to Switch From My Carry-On Backpack Lifestyle
  • This Luxury Suitcase Is Made From Airplane-Grade Aluminum
  • Away’s Carry-On Luggage Is the Best Roller Case For Your Money
  • This Luggage Has the World’s Best Features, and It’s Currently on Sale
  • These Two Genius Bags Replaced the Four Camera Bags I Used to Carry
  • Tortuga Travel Backpack 40L Is the Best Travel Backpack for Your Money

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Hi, I’m Steven, a Florida native, who left my career in corporate wealth management six years ago to embark on a summer of soul searching that would change the course of my life forever.