Red Bags Are Loaded First on Some Airplanes — TikTokers Explain Why

If you have red luggage, here's why some airlines load it first. You might have to wait longer at baggage claim.

Callie (Carlos) Cadorniga - Author
By

Apr. 25 2024, Published 10:54 a.m. ET

The way airlines do things and their strange (often inconvenient) habits have been parodied dozens of times in comedy sketch shows. For example, one of the many airplane sketches on Key & Peele involves the boarding of a plane. In short, a passenger on Boarding Group 1 of a flight is forced to wait while other passengers with highly specific boarding priorities get to go first. It may surprise you to know that some airlines employ similar practices in real life, at least with luggage.

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All over TikTok, folks have noticed or even posted about airlines where the people who load the baggage on the plane always put the red bags on first before going through the rest of the luggage. Carrying luggage on a plane is already stressful enough as it is, but some flights try to go the extra mile by scrutinizing the color of each bag when it comes to loading them up. Now everyone is wondering why they do this. It's meant to be a measure to keep your luggage organized. Let's break it down.

A person pulling a red suitcase outside an airport
Source: Getty Images
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Red bags get prioritized during loading on some planes. Here's why.

As of mid-April 2024, a TikTok video from @airportlife_ has gone viral in which an airline worker is seen loading up baggage onto a flight. They can be seen rolling out a track of wheels along a narrow baggage compartment and setting down bags as they roll toward them. Interestingly enough, the worker has red bags passed down to them before any other color bags. By the end of the video, the entire compartment is filled up to the brim.

The TikTok poses the question: "Do you know why red bags are loaded first?"

As it turns out, there's a very specific reason. Reportedly, some airlines load up bright red luggage first because they're supposed to be less likely to be forgotten when unloading. The logic is pretty sound, as it would be easy for folks to notice the red bags in the back and keep track of what bags are left throughout the entire compartment so that nothing gets left behind.

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Folks have had interesting reactions to this revelation. One TikToker wrote, "I have a red suitcase. Now I know why I have to wait so damn long at the airport."

Another user echoed the sentiment, commenting, "What color is loaded last? I'll be buying that color."

Now, not every airline does this, but maybe they should start. According to a 2023 report by NPR, over 2 million suitcases are lost every year by airlines. What's worse, anything that isn't found ends up at a store called Unclaimed Baggage in Atlanta. How much do we want to bet that none of those 2 million lost suitcases were red?

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