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Don't Lose Your Luggage

Never be left without your necessities again.

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This story appears in the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

If you've ever suffered through an important meeting in another city dressed in the clothes you wore on the plane because an airline lost your luggage, listen up: Airlines lost or mishandled 23 percent more bags in 2005 than in 2004, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. That's about 3.5 million bags annually--or 10,000 per day!

To be fair, most mishandled bags are just delayed. Less than 2 percent of mishandled bags end up permanently lost or destroyed. But with cash-strapped airlines unable to invest in major baggage system improvements, don't expect the trend to reverse itself anytime soon. Here's how you can protect yourself from the baggage blues:

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