Airport to Airplane: What Exactly Happens to Your Luggage Before Takeoff

Air travеl is onе of thе grеatеst modеrn convеniеncеs and has allowеd humans to travеl to placеs thеy nеvеr could’vе gonе bеforе undеr normal conditions.  Thе planе staff,  tеchnicians,  and company rеprеsеntativеs sharе a common bеliеf: that nothing is morе important than gеtting thе passеngеrs of thе planе to thеir dеstination safеly and on timе. However, you may wonder what these professionals do with your luggage once you’re safely seated on the plane for takeoff. You may have heard horror stories about people losing theirs somehow, but yours finds you on time regularly after you’ve landed. Keep reading to discover all the efforts behind luggage organization to make that happen.

Baggage dropoff and sorting

The first step in checking in your luggage is taking it to the drop-off kiosk. The agent at your kiosk will perform a rudimentary security check before weighing it, and if it meets the weight requirements, they will place a sticker on your bag, which contains a barcode or RFID. This code is the only way to track your destination and contains information about your flight and destination to ensure it goes on the right plane and gets where it’s supposed to. When your luggage goes to the wrong destination, companies can use this RFID to return it to your airport.

Security screening

Security at airports is infamous for being very strict, and it’s for a good reason. Many people try to transport contraband across states or borders, and airport security has become efficient in detecting these items. When your luggage is being sorted, there is a machine on the conveyor belts that diverts them to your flight. Here, there will be an automatic scan on your bag to ensure its contents are safe for the flight. If something is flagged, it’ll be manually inspected later.

Loading onto aircraft

Once your bags have passed security checking, they’ll be loaded onto carts designed to put in planes. The luggage in these carts is sorted based on the seating plan in the aircraft. Baggage vehicles then transport these carts to the aircraft out on the runway. Some companies may use aircraft cargo dollies & trailers for this purpose as it can be more efficient. The ground crew then unloads the baggage and manually places it into the plane’s hold, placing it in a specific way to ensure even weight distribution so the plane is not lopsided during the flight. 

Final checks

Once the ground crew has gotten hold of the luggage, final checks occur. This includes security checks to ensure the scans haven’t missed anything, specifically in suspicious containers. During this time, any bags or luggage redirected to the wrong flight are caught and returned, and luggage from other planes that are supposed to be on your plane is redirected, too. This ensures that almost every passenger gets their luggage each time.

Unloading and baggage claim

Once loading has occurred, the plane takes off. Once it has landed, the cargo hold only opens when the plane reaches the gate. Ground staff then unload the bags and transport them to the terminal using the same equipment and vehicles. Once they’ve all been transported to the terminal, the staff assorts them and places them onto conveyor belts. Here, passengers can wait for their bags and identify them by checking the attached sticker and associating it with the information on their ticket. It’s a convenient way of making a complex and elongated process simple for the passengers and public traveling by air.


Planes are massive and can transport hundreds of people hundreds of miles at a time or even worldwide. All of the passengers inside these planes have their own goods and necessities that they need to carry, and many of these end up in luggage storage. Profеssionals in thе aviation industry havе madе storing and taking luggagе across continеnts so еasy that most pеoplе don’t pay morе attеntion to it,  howеvеr,  it takеs morе еffort than most rеalizе.  Now that you’vе sееn thе information in this articlе,  you’ll havе a bеttеr idеa of whеrе your bags arе going on your nеxt flight.