What to do if airline has lost your luggage?

Expert Travel Tips
// 5 October 2017
Expert Advice

Expert advice: What to do if airline has lost your luggage?

Travelling with just carry-on travel bag means no fuss of finding bag on conveyor belt. If you have checked baggage, waiting at baggage claim carousel is like testing your patience. Even worst thing is you are standing at baggage carousel waiting for your bag, and conveyor belt slows, then stops and your bag is nowhere. Your bag might have stolen, delayed or lost. If bag is delay, try not to panic. The airlines have ways to track your bags and misplaced luggage is returned eventually. But losing luggage is nightmare that can happen to anyone and you have to act immediately. What to do in these cases? Well, here’s help for you:

  1. Delayed Bags

Most of the time so-called “lost” baggage isn’t really lost, rather, it is delayed. And, if you are lucky enough, an airline can reunite with your baggage within 24 hours. When you realize your bag isn’t going to show up on carousel, go to your airline’s lost baggage counter and report missing baggage before leaving the airport. According to some airline contracts, passengers must file missing report no later than four hour after arrival and others say 24 hours. In case, your bag is delayed on connecting itinerary involving more than one airline, you have to deal with airline that flew you to your destination. Hand over your bag check and fill the form, make sure to get copy along with tracking number, airline number and baggage tracking website.

  1. Lost Checked baggage

If you didn’t get your bag back within five days, the bag falls in category of “maybe really lost”. You have to submit more information and enter claims. Airline defines “really lost” anywhere from 5 to 30 days, at which point you and airline believes that you’ll never see your bag again. In such scenario, get written claim for damages. There is different form to get your claim and it can be done by mail or at airport. Also, you have to provide receipts to prove the value of items you had in your luggage. Airline will reimburse for depreciated value of items. If your checked baggage is worth more than limits provided by airline, you can purchase “excess valuation” protection from airline.

  1. Damaged Bag

Generally, airlines don’t take responsibility for minor damage to luggage, such as scratches, scuffs, bumps and dents, nor they will cover damage to locks, pulls or wheels that is result of wear and tear. Airlines also don’t take responsibility for damage occurred during TSA inspection. In case, you think your baggage was damaged during TSA inspection, call on their toll free number.

  1. Stolen Bags

After getting off the plane, head directly to baggage carousel because this is time for your bag to be stolen. It is wise advice to purchase travel insurance as it will cover your stolen suitcase.

  1. Compensation

Only one airline- Alaska provides compensation for delayed baggage. If airline doesn’t deliver checked baggage within 20 minutes of arrival, it issues $25 voucher for future flight or 2,500 frequent-flyer miles. But other airlines do not issue any compensation for delayed bags.

How to prevent lost luggage:

  1. Put your name and phone number tag on outside and inside of bags. You can also put copy of your itinerary so that airline can locate your easily.
  2. Pack all valuables such as wallets, jewelry, passports, et al. in carry-on bags or travel backpacks.
  3. The common reason of lost and delayed bags are tight connections and late check-ins; try to avoid both these.
  4. In case you lost your bag, airline will ask what was in your bag, to remember this, it is better to itemize. If you have packing list, keep it with you.
  5. Purchase travel insurance, which is best guarantee to recoup any losses.
  6. Make sure to check whether correct destination ticket is attached to your baggage, and get claim ticket for your baggage.
  7. Use baggage tagging service such as ReboundTAG or SuperSmartTag. These services provide luggage tags with unique serial numbers and will contact you when your lost item is found.

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