Airport Baggage Delivery Jobs: What Are They Like? For Consumers, What Does it Mean to Lose Luggage?

If you’ve seen a job listing for becoming an airport luggage courier, take it with caution. Expect to act speedily, drive sometimes long distances and most likely fill up your gas tank on your own dime. I was an airport luggage courier for a period of time, and these are the ins and outs of the job. Even if you are not seeking an airport job, you may learn a thing or two from this article.

A baggage delivery courier is the guy who delivers your luggage to you because the airline lost it. Contrary to popular belief, these are independent contractors not employed by the airline. Many people do not understand this, but are thankful to receive their luggage. In most cases, the independent contractors work for a middleman company that handles dispatching.

As an airport luggage courier, you must be speedy, courteous and be able to take flack for luggage you did not lose. You also will need a keen sense of direction within your city. Knowing a city’s shortcuts will help you. Having a GPS will help you even more: you will be driving to every corner of the city and its outlying outskirts as part of the job. integrasisistemlogistik

What you’ll need

A larger car or van. Your midsize car can handle more luggage than you ever thought, though, if you stack the luggage taller than your rear sightline. The best vehicles for the job, though, are vans, minivans and small SUVs. A large SUV can do the job, of course, but there is a strong likelihood you will pay for your own gas. Be judicious in your vehicle choice.

You also will need to use your cell phone while on the road to coordinate deliveries with the people who lost their luggage.

What’s the pay?

The airport luggage courier earning game is one where your delivery income competes with the cost of gas.

In my case, gas costs came out of my own pocket. On average, for every 5 dollars for a delivery, 1 to 2 dollars went toward gasoline. A delivery to a house 45 minutes away netted me $60. If multiple long-distance deliveries are in your vehicle, you will be paid handsomely for the trip. With gas costs crossing the $3 threshold, this is where MPG figures matter.

I was paid per delivery. The airline sets the price for each delivery (not each bag) and the dispatching company you contract with will take a cut. Longer trips mean higher rewards but more driving time. It is critical to plan your route in a circular manner that ends with returning to the airport for your next set of luggage. You do not have time to zig-zag across the city.

Baggage delivery service tipping rules

It is standard custom to tip a luggage delivery driver, much like a porter, about $3 for each bag delivered. From real-life experience, you will get tipped occasionally in the $1 to $3 range. Tips are yours to keep.

Where exactly am I going to drive to anyway and who will I meet?

People of all walks of life own luggage, and airlines of all sizes lose them. These people also may live miles from the airport. Your job is to drive the luggage to the home of its owner, no matter how rough the terrain. Imagine this: one time at night I was driving a delivery in the middle of the night on a narrow dirt mountain road with only my headlights to guide me. It’s rare, but deliveries like this do happen.

In general, it is your responsibility to gather the luggage and load it into your vehicle. The airline baggage desk almost always will loan you luggage carts for this purpose.

You will often meet the recipient of the luggage when delivering. A professional, upbeat appearance will help you get tips.

What else?

At the airport, stopping the car in the passenger load and unload spot to dash and get luggage is an absolute no-no. Because of heightened security regulations, airport security will inspect any unattended car and harass you (and possibly ticket you) for leaving your car unattended. Too many airport car bombings have started with an unattended car.

If your delivery is on a military base, watch out. From the military’s standpoint, you are driving up with a van full of packages that may need inspection. As in, they may want to inspect every single piece of luggage in your vehicle. You don’t have time for that.

At the military gate, explain yourself confidently as a delivery driver and have the name of the recipient on-base handy. If possible, arrange to have the recipient meet you off-base nearby.

If the luggage you are delivering was damaged by the airline, brace yourself. Airlines tend to have a policy of replacing luggage on the basis of size and function, not price or cache. An expensive Italian rolling suitcase will be replaced with a Samsonite roller. To the airline, it rolls and is a suitcase. To the recipient, it will be a slap in the face. If you receive any guff, extract yourself from the situation — you’re just the delivery guy — and direct them to call the airline’s luggage holding desk. That is the desk where the customer first arrives asking where their luggage went and makes an arrangement for delivery.

If the luggage has tears or damage and the airline is not providing a replacement, the standard line from the airline is that it is not responsible. Do not apologize for the damage (unless you know you caused it).

If nobody is home, your dispatcher will tell you whether to leave the luggage unattended. In most cases, you will.

Lingo

A “BDO” is a baggage delivery order. This is the slip of paper with the recipient’s address, name and phone number you get to make the delivery.

A “runner” is when a person calls the airline and says they will come to get the luggage themselves at the airport. You don’t want them to get the luggage first because you will be out of a delivery. The best cases are when you take the luggage and spot the recipient entering the airport. Because the luggage is in your possession, you “delivered” the luggage to the right person and the airline pays. No driving involved. This is rare but if you call the recipient and find they are at the airport, the handoff is perfect.

A “parking lot fee” should be non-existent if you play your cards right. Because you will be going in and out of the airport parking lot, for which a fee is involved, you will have to find a method to get the cost waived. Validated parking waivers are sometimes available at select businesses inside the airport if you start an informal relationship with the business.