Visiting the baggage carousel can be the most stressful part of a long flight. Locating a piece of luggage, or multiple pieces, from among the hundreds of other bags can get confusing. A luggage locator can help track down luggage with a remote control that activates a flashing alarm. Variations are available for locating several bags, and some even initiate spoken responses to cut through the confusion.
A luggage locator is a tracking device that comes in two distinct pieces. One is a small button that fits on a key chain and looks like the locking and unlocking fob that comes with some automobiles. The second piece is larger, about the size of a small paperback book, also made of hard plastic with one or up to a series of lights embedded. Some brands differ in design, but both pieces typically also feature a strap made from nylon or plastic coated steel wire for attaching to bags.
This wireless device operates much like a garage door opener because of its reliance on close-range radio signals. The small part of the luggage locator is called the transmitter and, like a garage door remote in a car, emits a signal when its button is pressed. The larger piece of the luggage locator is called the receiver, and it functions like the garage door opener itself, except that instead of opening a door when a button is pressed, its lights turn on and a sound is emitted. Most transmitters and receivers have a range of 60 feet (18.2 m), and their lights and sounds function for approximately four seconds.
Each luggage locator operates on the same radio wavelength, but a remote control will activate only its mate. The locators are each given an individual code. This assures that another bag with a luggage locator will not accidentally flash and beep when the button is pressed.
With the product rising in popularity, some brands have branched out and made additions that can help travelers even more. Many travelers don't fly with only one bag, and members of a family often have several bags each. Some luggage locators offer multiple receivers for a single transmitter so that multiple bags will notify the owner with only one push of a button. Another innovation is personalization that allows users to record their own voice saying whatever they want, so that when the button is pressed, they see lights and hear their own message.