by Michael J. Shapiro | November 01, 2007

You’ve been watching the same bags make the carousel rounds for what seems an eternity, and your precious luggage is nowhere in sight. Sound familiar? A growing number of travelers are avoiding this nightmare scenario by opting to ship rather than check their luggage. For luggage-shipping companies, business really is taking off.

“We’ve seen a steady growth for 2007,” reports Zeke Adkins, co-founder of Boston-based Luggage Forward (, “and we are on pace to see a 300 percent increase in business since 2006.”

Jeff Boyd, president of New York-based Luggage Free (, says his company has nearly doubled in size this year over last -- for the second year in a row.

The process is fairly straightforward. The luggage shipper sends a courier to pick up your bags from your home or office. The shipper then handles the paperwork, tracking and delivery. Price varies, depending on the number and weight of bags and the speed of service, which generally ranges from overnight to five business days. Example: Shipping a 40-pound bag from New York to San Francisco in three days will set you back $147 with Luggage Forward; Luggage Free charges $90.

What drives flyers to ship their bags? According to a recent Luggage Free customer survey, says Boyd, the top three reasons were: not having to rely on an airline’s baggage-handling capabilities, not having to wait at the baggage carousel and not having to schlep their stuff. These are ample motives for many, it appears, to pack in advance and leave home without it.