A reader asked me a question that I figured would make an interesting topic of conversation, as I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think. When you’re in an airport lounge, do you leave your bags unattended at any point? If so, under what circumstances?
In this post:
Unattended bags in a lounge are a tricky topic
Typically when we’re at airports, we’re told not to leave our bags unattended. That makes perfect sense, since you don’t want anyone tampering with your luggage. On some US-bound flights, you’ll even be asked specific security questions, like whether your bags have been unattended at any point.
If you were sitting in the gate area and wanted to get something to eat or drink, you’d almost certainly take your belongings with you, rather than leaving them unattended? Do different rules apply in airport lounges, though? After all, if you watch people in airport lounges, almost no one will take their bag with them when they go to get something at the buffet or bar.
For that matter, the logistics would be complicated, especially since you often need two hands to serve yourself food or drinks, so bags would be falling over, etc.
So I think it’s important to find a reasonable middle ground. Admittedly some might say “well then aren’t you lying if you’re asked about your belongings being unattended and say no?” I mean, sort of. The question is so beyond silly.
Every time I go through an airport security checkpoint, I have a brief moment where the bag isn’t in my possession and I can’t see it, so I guess the honest answer would almost always be that a bag hasn’t been in my possession at all times. But I also don’t really want to deal with the consequences of admitting that.
My approach to leaving bags unattended in lounges
With the above out of the way, what’s my approach regarding leaving bags unattended in lounges? There are several considerations, and frankly they largely come down to factors like what type of a lounge it is, and how crowded it is. Here’s my general take:
- I’ll leave my bag unattended in just about any lounge when I’m going to get some food or something to drink, assuming I don’t have to walk too far; however, I’ll always do what I can to glance at my bag as much as possible
- I’ll always try to keep my ID and wallet in my pocket when leaving my bag unattended, and I also position my bag zippers in a specific way (so I can tell if someone tampered with them), just to be on the safe side
- If I’m going to the restroom briefly, I’ll leave my bag unattended, assuming no one around me gives me a weird vibe
- If I’m leaving for an extended period of time, like to take a shower or to hang out in a nap room, then I always take my bag with me
- My willingness to leave my bag unattended also varies greatly based on the type of lounge and where it is; I feel much more comfortable leaving my bag unattended in Singapore Airlines’ The Private Room Singapore than in the Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami (which is a Priority Pass lounge)
While we’re on the topic of this, it boggles my mind how some lounges just have luggage storage areas that don’t have any locks, like the Turkish Airlines Lounge Miami. Seriously, how is this a good idea for anyone?
While it’s a best practice to have your personal belongings in your possession at an airport, it’s not always practical. After all, you don’t see most people in airport lounges taking their bag with them every time they go up to the buffet. I think there’s a happy middle ground approach to take, though I’m curious how others approach this.
What’s your approach to leaving bags unattended in airport lounges?