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Photo: Finavia

Baggage chief gives best suitcase advice

What kind of suitcase is the best for flying? A baggage handling expert at Helsinki Airport shares his tips.

The head of baggage handling at ground handling company Swissport at Helsinki Airport shares his tips on selecting the right kind of suitcase, courtesy of airport operator Finavia.

As Swissport’s baggage chief in HEL, Juha Sinivuori, and his team ensure that thousands of pieces of luggage find their way from check-in to the right flight on time.

So he has inside knowledge of what kind of suitcase is the most convenient from a baggage handling perspective, and first of all he advises passengers travel with a suitcase with a hard shell as it “stays intact for longer”.

“Durability is important, especially with larger suitcases that are checked into the cargo hold. For heavy suitcases, the loading and unloading can be a rough ride,” he says.

No protrusions
Passengers often attach a scarf, ribbon, belt or other hanging decoration on their suitcase to make it more identifiable. But Sinivuori says passengers really shouldn’t accessorise a suitcase with anything that hangs outside the case or protrudes from the shell.

“A hanging accessory may be torn, and a protruding part may cling to the baggage handling system, jamming the suitcase on the belt,” he explains. “At worst, this could even result in the suitcase missing the flight.”

So how to make a suitcase or bag unique? Sinivuori offers a tip: “You can use paint or tape to make your suitcase more easily identifiable.”

Finally, the suitcase chief recommends passengers label their baggage with contact information.

Although luggage is very rarely delayed from the flight, labelling it with up-to-date contact information such as a name and phone number will enable it to be returned quickly in the case of a delay.

“It’s good to have your contact information label outside the suitcase, so it won’t be necessary to open the case,” says Sinivuori.

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