Using a Luggage Delivery Service When You Fly
This weekend I am presenting at the Frequent Traveler University conference in Dallas and I wanted to bring some fun goodies like t-shirts and bears to give away (confession: we also desperately needed the closet space back to prep for two kids). I was going to fly the short flight from Houston to Dallas for the conference, but wasn't quite sure how I would comfortably maneuver not only my (big) purse and carry-on luggage, but also this decent sized box of t-shirts and bears. It could be done with the help of getting luggage carts a couple of times, but it really didn't sound like my idea of pregnant fun.
Using a Luggage Delivery Service
Then I remembered about a cool sounding baggage delivery service that I had yet to find a good reason to try out for myself. BagsVIP partners with United (and a few other airlines including Delta, JetBlue, American, Southwest, and Alaska) to delivery your bags to your home, hotel, office, etc. so you can skip waiting at the baggage carousel and messing the bags or boxes and leave the airport as soon as you land. I can think of lots of very practical uses for this including traveling solo with kids, heading straight to a meeting or presentation upon landing, or simply traveling with more stuff than you can easily carry by yourself.
To be eligible for this service, your flight must be originating from a US airport and the delivery service is only available at select U.S. airports. They say your bag will be delivered within four hours of your flight's arrival if your destination is within 40 miles of the airport, and within six hours if your destination is within 40 - 100 miles from the airport (extra $1 per mile for deliveries over 40 miles from the airport).
Costs of Using a Luggage Delivery Service
Of course, this sort of service isn't free... In additional to whatever charges the airline may charge you for your checked bags, you will may extra to BagsVIP for their delivery service. In my case I didn't have any checked bag fees from United, so I only had to pay the BagsVIP charges.
The charges to use BagsVIP are:
1 bag $29.95
2 bags $39.95
3-8 bags $49.95
My Experience Using BagsVIP
A week or so before my flight I went to the BagsVIP website and purchased the service though you can schedule until one hour prior to your scheduled flight departure time. I had to input my flight info, the number of bags, the description of the bag, my destination information, etc. It was a pretty simple process that only took a couple of minutes.
The day of the flight I checked my box in as normal with United and asked if there was anything special I needed to do since I was having it delivered via BagsVIP. This started a whole chain reaction of confusion as I was told they don't deliver bags, "this isn't FedEx", I have to claim my own bag at baggage claim, etc. I showed them my confirmation from BagsVIP, but that didn't help at all. In the end I just trusted it was going to work and my checked box went into the airport in Houston with me a little unsure if I would see it safety delivered to my hotel in Dallas.
After landing in Dallas I spent some time in the airport at the Amex Centurion Lounge, and before I ever got to the hotel I had three email confirmations from BagsVIP first saying that my bag was picked up, then that it was on its way, and finally that it had been delivered.
When I arrived at the hotel to check-in, the front desk staff said they had a package for me, and indeed it was my box that had been delivered before I even arrived without me having to do anything!
In this case the service was well worth the $29.95, and I love that the more bags you have delivered the better relative value the service is. There aren't a whole lot of circumstances where I anticipate needing my luggage delivered, but I will certainly keep it in mind when I have more bags or boxes than I can easily manage on my own.
Have you used a service like this? What was your experience?