I believe it is not a question of “if your luggage will be lost”, but “when your luggage will be lost.” I have first hand experience. A missed flight on Thanksgiving weekend, resulted in an unplanned two night stopover in Atlanta, while our luggage winged its way home without us.
Now I believe in an ounce of protection. So here is how we pack now. An important part of this packing plan means using packing cubes. I use the Medium Size packing cubes from eBags.com http://www.ebags.com/product/ebags/medium-packing-cubes-3pc-set/48439?sourceid=ONLTELLPT1
This plan works for two people travelling together. We each assemble four outfits. One to wear on the plane and three to pack. I assemble a packing cube that consists of one outfit, underwear, and socks. In the end I have six packing cubes, three for each traveler. The packing cubes also hold miscellaneous odds and ends, like a pair of gloves, hat, etc.. One packing cube goes in each traveler’s carry on. Each checked bag gets one packing cube for each of the travelers, a cube for Traveler A and a cube for Traveler B. This way if one bag gets lost, you each have two packing cubes with clothing. One cube from your carry on and one from the single checked bag.
Of course, since I put this plan in place we have never experienced lost luggage. We did have a situation where the airline staff put our tag for Mexico on the bag of a woman bound for Chicago. The mistake was realized when there was no tag to put on our bag. The airline was able to retrieve her bag, but she thought her bag might have had more fun in Mexico, than Chicago.
Another tip I have is to be sure to pack a change of clothes in your carry on for the return trip. Had I done this we would have had a change of cloths for our unexpected two nights in Atlanta.
So, take the extra time and pack smart.