Checking your bags for a flight can feel like a crapshoot, especially now, with tighter restrictions on carry-ons. More travelers are checking bags than ever, increasing the odds for a luggage mishap and a longer wait at the carousel. That's why many business travelers are considering luggage delivery services for the first time.
There are some well-established players in this space, all of which provide door-to-door shipping of suitcases, sports equipment and trade show materials.
Luggage Forward offers four levels of forwarding options: five-day Basic service is the slowest and cheapest; guaranteed Express, Priority and Standard services provide next-day, second-day and third-day delivery, respectively. The website provides instant price quotes, online booking and real-time luggage tracking. If you have a web-enabled handheld device, you can monitor the status of your shipment as well. If you're traveling internationally, Luggage Forward oversees the customs clearance process on your behalf.
Luggage Express also sends a courier to pick up your bag at your home, office or hotel and will send it anywhere you choose. You can get a price quote and submit your request on the website, but an actual order will be made by an agent over the phone.
The Luggage Club allows online or toll-free telephone reservations; it offers stored-value cards in amounts between $25 and $2,500 and offers a frequent-shipper program.
What price for convenience? Luggage Forward charges $94 to ship a 45-pound bag from Miami to Chicago with basic service, $209 for overnight. Luggage Express's economy service (three to four days) for the same bag and route is $100.
What happens if something you ship gets lost? All three firms will reimburse you for replacements or delayed items.
Julie Moline is a freelance writer, editor and editorial consultant in New York City.