You’re waiting at the belt a bit nervous and realize, where’s my suitcase? Take a deep breathe and take a step back - it’ll be okay! Here are a few lost luggage tips so this small speed bump doesn’t ruin your trip.
How often does luggage get lost?
This happens very rarely for such a common concern. According to a Sita, the rate for lost or mishandled luggage in North America is 2.4 bags for every thousand passengers. This is a 66% drop from the statistics found in 2007. In fact most lost luggage isn’t actually lost - it’s just delayed. So don’t fret, you’re likely to soon be reunited.
Common Reasons Why Luggage Gets Lost
In most cases, lost luggage can be attributed to a few common reasons including incorrect tagging, issues during layover and ticketing errors.
The number one reason for lost luggage is during a missed connection. The earlier you inform the airline, the more likely it is they can redirect your luggage and reunite you with your bags.
What to Do When Your Luggage Gets Lost
Before Leaving the Airport
So your airline lost your luggage, don’t stress! Head to your airline’s lost baggage counter and speak to the representative. Many times, the luggage is not lost, it’s just delayed. File a baggage claim with the airline, and provide them with the best contact information.
Do not leave the airport without filing a claim.
If you have purchased travel insurance, read the terms and see what steps need to be taken.
Additionally, some credit cards offer built in travel insurance. Double check the card you purchased your ticket with and see if they offer any perks that might help. Is it recommended to do this before leaving the airport in case you need additional information or paperwork that is easily accessible while still on site.
After Leaving the Airport
Stay in communication with the airline. Follow up daily if necessary, and make sure to get all directions and agreements in writing.
Airlines are required to provide compensation for reasonable replacement items and expenses incurred while the bays are delayed. This is subject to a maximum limit; make sure you are aware of that limit before making new purchases.
If purchasing any replacement items, hold on to any and all receipts. Downloading a scanner app on your phone may make it easier to not only keep them organized, but will make them easily accessible when submitting it to the airline for refunds.
Rules for Lost Luggage Domestically
Airlines are not required to compensate for items included in their exclusion lists. Check your airline’s carrier for that list.
The current maximum liability for lost luggage for domestic travel is capped at $3,500.
Rules for Lost Luggage Internationally
Airlines are responsible for all items that have transported. This includes items on their exclusion lists, even if that item was not disclosed at check-in.
The current maximum liability for lost luggage for domestic travel is capped at approximately $1,545.
All airlines - both domestic and international - are free to pay more than the cap, but are not legally required to do so.