A Gamer’s Air Travel Guide

In: Articles by Miguel "DaddyGamer" Gonzaga

4 Jan 2011

vintage-airline-stewardesses1One of the gamers I’m following on Twitter recently went through a freak-out moment. He left his iPad on the plane and remembered it after he got home.

He got lucky. The plane he was on did not go to another destination, and the person who found his iPad called him. As an airline-industry veteran and a gamer, I’d like to give you some dos and don’ts to lessen the chance of losing your precious portable gaming device.

1. Label it!
This sounds so basic but many of you don’t bother to put your contact info in the About section of your device. Airline employees are busy and will not have the time to research and trace the owners. Before packing, make sure your contact info is in the About section. You can also use a labeler or just tape an airline name tag to your device. You don’t need to include a ton of info; your name and cell phone number will suffice. The less work the airline has to do the better the chances of you getting a call.

2. Don’t bring all your games
Ask yourself: How sad will I be when I lose these games? My heart goes out when I see a bag of games in a DS or PSP holder that’s been left in the plane’s cabin. I’d suggest bringing one to two games max. Games for portable consoles are thin and tiny. A DS game is just slightly bigger than a quarter coin. Bringing less makes it easier for you to remember.

3. Avoid the seat-back pocket at all cost
Repeat after me: “The plane’s seat-back pocket is a black hole.” Everything and anything that fits in there has been left behind. I’m talking about cameras, wallets, toys, cell phones, iPads, and yes, game portables. Ensure that there is space in the bag that goes under the seat in front of you so you can easily put it away when you have to go to the lavatory.

4. Check and store your stuff during descent
Don’t wait until the plane pulls up to the gate to stop playing. I usually stop playing when I hear the captain or the in-flight crew say, “Prepare for descent.” Take this a cue to stop, wrap up your headset, take inventory of your games, and shove them in your carry-on. Passengers tend to forget everything when they rush to get out of the plane. I’m waiting for the day that somebody tells me that they forgot their baby on board.

5. Be paranoid… you’ll feel better
Stop. Check your carry-on and gaming equipment as soon as you pass the jet-way and into the gate area. Double check your inventory then proceed to the baggage carousel or parking lot. If you forget something, the gate agent can easily run back to your seat area and check. Flights usually have a 30-minute turnaround time. That plane is being cleaned and serviced as you deplane. It’s a pain in the neck when passengers ask the gate crew to check the plane while they are in the process of boarding the next flight.

6. When to rely on a wing and a prayer
Reality check time. Getting the item you left on the plane is a courtesy provided by the airline. Airlines cannot be found liable for something that you lost. Most airlines employ cleaners who are not direct airline employees but are business partners. Bags or little items left behind are quickly thrown in the garbage bags or are quickly vacuumed to get the flight ready for boarding. Big ticket items are usually turned in but are not processed until that night. Fortunately for you, airlines hate having high-value items in their lost-and-found bins. They want to get rid of them ASAP. Hence, having a name and phone number will expedite the return process.

But if you left your game portable and games and don’t hear from the airline after 24 hours, the likelihood of seeing your stuff is close to nil.

One last tip… Be freakin’ nice! Trust me. A calm, cool, friendly voice goes a long way when you are asking for a favor. Leave your name and phone number and say that you’ll follow up the next day. I went out of my way to trace a Nintendo DS once because the dad was so sincere and friendly. I had to call two cities where the plane stopped and luckily found the item and got it sent back to my station. Again, I didn’t have to.

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8 Responses to A Gamer’s Air Travel Guide



January 4th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

hahhahaha nice, pic Edie! PSA… heck ya!
(Am I suppose to comment on my articles? What the heck.)



January 5th, 2011 at 8:15 am

I’ll put my .02 in


They maybe on the arrrrgh matey side, but damn do they help not loosing anything. All in a nice 1 piece package.



January 5th, 2011 at 9:29 am

He is a very lucky dude to get it back, this should go up as an Air Travel Guide app! So very good points in there.
“I’m waiting for the day that somebody tells me that they forgot their baby on board” LOL :-) its only early in the year yet.



January 5th, 2011 at 10:48 am

Seriously, AS. I’m just waiting for that to happen. I’ve had people leave brand new Mac Air and super-expensive laptops on board. And guess what… They wouldn’t have known it if we (airline crew) didn’t call them. I could be an Ebay King by now if I were slightly twisted. hehehehe



January 5th, 2011 at 12:52 pm

A new Mac air would definitely tempt anyone good job we are honest people ;-) If I had a laptop that expensive I would be looking to get custom handcuffs fitted to it :-)



January 12th, 2011 at 10:00 am

Sort of a corollary of #2 and #3 is: only unpack what you’re using, and immediately pack it up if you’re stopping–even for a quick break.



January 12th, 2011 at 1:37 pm

nice add, robbway… hmmm… maybe if we get enough useful comments we can make a “sticky” eh? wat you tink, edie?



January 20th, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I figured you’d love that photo, DG. But I’m right there with you. Working baggage service office for five months, I’ve seen iPhones, iPods, Kindles, iPads, MacBook Airs… and so, so many of those go completely unclaimed. Only because I’m clever enough to figure out how to go into “contacts” and look for either “mom and dad” or “home,” do I even figure out who they belong to.

And don’t get me started on the number of Nintendo DSes I’ve sent to our main office after 30 days unclaimed… and I know where they’re going after that: The lost item clearing house in Atlanta where they’re sold *by the pound*!! In other words: Where electronics go to die… in Manila or Thailand.

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