Having lost luggage can be a frustrating, stressful, and inconvenient situation. The lingering thought alone can be a painful experience. Airlines usually return luggage to passengers within the time span of 24 to 48 hours. Instead of procrastinating, it is best to take action right away in situations such as this.
- REACH OUT TO YOUR AIRLINE
You should never wait to contact your airline once you realize that your luggage did not arrive. If your airport possesses an office for lost baggage, make sure to report your loss immediately. Leaving the airport in a state of panic is a bad idea if you have yet to speak to an airline agent. If this is not an option- report your loss to a baggage handler, reservations agent, or gate agent. Take note of each individual you speak with and write down instructions given by airline agents. If there is no agent available, contact the airport’s main phone line. If forms are available, complete them during your stay at the airport. Stay alert for any updates on lost luggage and check for lost luggage policies on your airline’s website.
2. REQUEST LUGGAGE DELIVERY
It is important to leave your contact information with an airline agent so that your airline is able to contact you in the case of updates. It is convenient, and common, for airlines to offer to have your luggage delivered to you by hand. If this is not offered to you, it is important that it is requested so you will not have to return to the airport to claim your luggage.
3. FILE A CLAIM
Most airlines will offer compensation when a claim is filed if your luggage has not arrived within 24 hours from when you have reported it missing. You will be asked to fill out the value of your lost baggage and any incidental expenses caused by the loss. (Toiletries, cell phone chargers, hair gel, etc.) For each ticketed passenger you can be compensated up to $3,500 for lost, delayed, and damaged luggage for domestic flights. Be sure to have an approximate dollar value and a list of all items that were in your luggage before the loss. The value of the suitcase itself is going to take part in the claim. Taking a picture of all of the goods and the suitcase before they are packed is a good idea so that the airline can use this information to determine your compensation for any damaged or lost items.
5. MAKE SURE TO ANY RECEIPTS OF INCIDENTALS
In most cases, for reasonable incidental expenses, your airline will reimburse you up to $50 per day for up to five days. Buying things that you would normally buy to replace lost items will make it more likely that your compensation claim is approved quickly. Receipts will be needed to be provided in order for each incidental purchase to be compensated.
6. CHECK FOR CREDIT CARD BENEFITS
Lost or delayed baggage benefits may be offered by the credit card used to book your flight and might be activated sooner than your airline’s benefits. An example of this is the American Express cards which, in some cases, can cover your expenses immediately. With Amex, you will need to submit the receipts for what you bought with your Amex card in order to replace everything you need. These charges will be removed from your monthly statement. In order to better understand the notification deadlines, read your credit card’s guide to benefits. Make sure to also have a Proof of Loss Statement from your airline to provide for your credit card company.
7. CONSIDER GETTING HOMEOWNER’S AND TRAVEL INSURANCE
You might still be able to receive compensation if you have purchased a travel insurance policy for your trip even if your credit cards don’t offer baggage insurance. Make sure to reach out to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if they will cover lost or delayed luggage. Coverage from travel or homeowner’s insurance will always be considered as secondary coverage rather than primary.
8. INSPECT YOUR LUGGAGE
Immediately inspect your baggage for damage when you receive it. It is a good idea to do so in front of the person who has delivered the luggage to you. In most cases, airlines will offer to repair or replace damaged luggage if it is requested within 24 hours of receiving the luggage. In the case of damage, a claim form will need to be submitted for a replacement or repair. Some airlines require the original proof of the purchase receipt for the damaged items. To be safe, take photos of any damaged luggage to support your claim.
9. ITEMS THAT ARE MISSING OR DAMAGED
Be sure to check for missing items as well. If you happen to be missing any items, contact your airport to see if they are in possession of any items that may have been separated from your luggage. If they are not holding the missing item(s), you could receive compensation or an insurance policy for any damaged or missing items.
By following each of these steps, you can easily make sure that your lost luggage is returned to you safely in no time!