First - on my flight down I was making 2 connections. The most connections you make, the higher the risk your luggage will never make it to your final destination.
Because I am Brazilian I always travel back to Brazil carrying everyone else's purchase orders, and nothing of mine. Usually those purchase orders are electronics that would cost too much to purchase in othr other way than through a traveler.
So what did I do? I packed all their stuff in my hand luggage - except for my brother's light saber, which I had to check in, bc it was to big to fit in the hand luggage. I told them, as soon as my carry-on fills up, no more purchase orders will accepted and I sent them a message when that suitcase filled up. NO MORE ORDERS FOR 2013.
I checked in an empty suitcase, so I could bring stuff back home.
Nothing for me except for basic toiletries and school books for my summer class in my backpack - also a carry-on.
I made a video of myself putting the gift hand luggage together, making sure everything fit. :)
When I got to the first airport I was made to check in my luggage. I gave them a heck of a hard time - "I made sure i put my breakables in here bc it was a carry-on, who is going to be responsible if this breaks" - well, they said they were not responsible for broken luggage, which is why i repeated my statement word by word. I put my breakables in my CARRY-ON LUGGAGE! As I heard again they were not responsible for broken items I proceeded to to open my ex-carryon, and remove every object that I consider breakable to carry them inside the airplane with me.
Yes, I walked into the airplane looking like a weirdo - carrying most of my carry-on items in my hands, and that made me uncomfortable as hell, but I was just making a point.
Yes, I will make myself umcomfortable just to be obnoxious if you make me upset. After all, I am my mother's daughter,and years under her tutellage did teach me something - how to be an absolute pest if you push me buttons. So, word of advice - don't fall on my wrong side.
As I got to the end of that leg of the trip, sure enough, anything that i left in the luggage was torn, and if I had left my breakables in there, they would have been destroyed. I took pictures.
My first flight was late, so was my second flight. The problem was that my third connection was just on time and ... well, remember I told you to pack your valuables on your cary-on?
As I landed in Miami 10 minutes before my flight to Brazil was to take off, and made my way across that gigantic airport, I wonder whether my checked luggage would ever make it.
By the time I made it to the boarding gate for my flight they were about to take off.
"I'm on this flight!" I yelled to the lady that came flustered out of that covered walkway to the plane.
"Are you the one we've been looking for?"
The one we've been looking for! Hm! that felt good! People had been looking for me. Almost like I were someone of actual importance to anyone.
Either way, I replied, "I guess, I'm Virginia, I mean Lea ..."
"Are you Winters?"
Silly me ... last name, Vika, last name. No one is no one without a last name... "Yes, Winters!"
"Well, you made it. She will take you in."
"And my lugg..."
"have a good flight"
Something told me my luggage wasnt coming.
My luggage never came.
Thankfully it didnt land in Amsterdan or Tokyo. Just by safety I drew my destination address all around it - another safety measure. It flew to Salvador the next day and they delivered it to my family's condo.
So, yeah, if you are making connections - avoid checking in luggage. If you cant avoid it, bring only the non-essentials in that one.