As travellers, we're universally obsessed with how our bags fare on the luggage carousel.
We rush from the plane to the baggage hall, immediately furious that our suitcase isn't waiting for us.
Conversely, we love the anticipation. We enjoy the challenge of selecting where to stand so that we're best-placed to see the baggage emerge, then we savour the feeling of immense smugness when we spy our bag and make exaggerated preparations to remove it from the conveyor belt and swagger through customs.
Should you wish, however, to be rid of this ritual, a ramp worker has betrayed his suitcase-hurling colleagues and revealed the “secret” to ensuring your bag is first onto the belt.
“Your best option is to be one of the last passengers to check your bags,” Thomas Lo Sciuto, a ramp worker and gate agent, wrote on Quora.
“Bags will always be loaded front to back on the bag carts so if you check in last, your bags will be in the last bag cart, which will make them the last on the aircraft, and then the first off the aircraft at your destination.”
Lo Sciuto says the same logic applies in reverse: check in first and your bag will be last off.
What on Earth happens to lost luggage?
“Also remember to be nice to your counter agents and gate agents,” he says, with a clear agenda. “The friendlier you are the more likely you will get what you want.”
When considering how early or late you need to check your bag to game the system, the time it takes for a suitcase to arrive on the carousel depends on the size of the aircraft.
According to Swissport handlers at Birmingham Airport, the last bag can take 25 minutes to arrive when dealing with a small aircraft, such as a ComacARJ, and up to an hour for a large plane such as a Boeing 747.
Any other tricks?
Flying business or first class means you'll almost always get a "priority" bag tag that separates your luggage out from the herd. But that's not really a trick, so much as a privilege. Bear in mind though that some frequent flyer programmes offer this as a perk, even if you're stuck in economy.
Various other sources have indicated that getting a "fragile" sticker attached to your luggage makes it more likely to be set aside with extra care and loaded on last. It's worth a shot, at least.