Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you're standing by the carousel at the airport, watching suitcase after suitcase pass by—none of them yours—until finally, the carousel, now empty, turns off? It's a wretched feeling, especially at the start of a vacation.
One way to avoid this situation altogether is to ship your belongings ahead of time. The UPS Store just announced its new Luggage Boxes—and the cost is pretty reasonable. Shipping between NYC and L.A. costs about $66 for the small box or about $92 for the large. Just be sure to ship far enough in advance, and give your hotel the heads up! For a price comparison, here are the checked bag fees from five major domestic airlines:
JetBlue: First bag free, up to 50 lbs.; $30 for a 2nd bag. $50–100 excess weight fee.
Virgin America: First bag $25, up to 70 lbs.; $25 for 2nd bag, up to 50 lbs. $50 excess weight fee.
American Airlines: First bag $25; second bag $35. $50–$100 excess weight fee.
Delta: First bag $25, up to 50 lbs; 2nd bag $35. $90–$175 excess weight fee.
Southwest Airlines: First two bags free, up to 50 lbs each. $50 excess weight fee.
But if you opt to fly with your luggage, what are you to do in the event that when you arrive at your destination, your luggage is "lost"? (I use quotes because technically, it's not likely lost, but rather misplaced and will be recovered...though that doesn't mean it's any less of an inconvenience!)
Well, if you happen to be staying at the Stafford Hotel in London, you do absolutely nothing. Why? The hotel's new Baggage Emergency Response Squad has you covered. Not only will the concierge service take over all contact with the airline to coordinate the recovery of your luggage, they'll also provide, free of charge:
- a customized goody bag chock full of essentials: clothes; bath products; toothbrush/toothpaste; even contact solution if you need it.
- same day laundering of the clothes you flew in wearing, so you'll be ready to comfortably hit the town in your own digs.
- a personal shopper who will pick up new clothes for you—to your specifications—should the need be pressing (business meeting anyone?); you will have to pay for the clothes, but the service itself remains free.
I wasn't able to find other hotels offering a similar service, so kudos to the Stafford for (hopefully) starting a trend! (If any of you know of other hotels, please let me know!)
Joshua Pramis is an online associate editor at Travel + Leisure.