What To Do If An Airline Loses Your Luggage

woman walking on pathway while strolling luggage
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Every person hopes that they won’t ever be in a situation where an airline loses their luggage, but the unfortunate fact of the matter is it happens all the time. Multiple times a day and nobody is immune from it. So, what should you do if it happens to you?

(1) File a Report Immediately

The first thing you should always do BEFORE leaving an airport is to file a lost luggage claim with the airline. They will ask you for a description of the suitcase or bag, your tag number, final destination, where you are staying and the contents of the bag.

If you fail to file a report, the airline will likely do nothing and say, “we’re sorry but there isn’t anything we can do for you.” It will also give them grounds to deny you compensation.

(2) Keep Receipts for Everything

So, you’ve filed a report, now what?

Each airline has different rules about delayed luggage, but generally they will reimburse you for any “reasonable” expense for items you might need such as sunblock, change of clothing, sun glasses, etc.

It is your job to keep receipts for everything. You will have to submit them to the airline with your claim number to be able to receive a reimbursement.

I would always recommend using a credit card where possible because if there are any problems with the receipts, you have a backup record and the support of your credit card company to help you fight to receive a refund for the expense.

You should be aware that airlines often have short timeframes to submit the receipts for reimbursement, so always ensure you read their lost luggage pages.

(3) Enjoy Your Trip

Yes, it can be extremely stressful to have to wait on a bag, but there isn’t much you can do. Once a report is filed, the situation is out of your hands. You should enjoy your trip and not worry about the luggage.

Airlines are supposed to forward your luggage to your final destination. Always ensure you let the front desk, concierge, bell team, or others know that you are expecting luggage to be delivered and they should be able to help you if you aren’t present. I’ve had this happen to me twice.

Other Information

If a luggage is not found and is eventually considered lost, they airline will reimburse you the maximum amount listed on their lost luggage and conditions of carriage page. There are different rules for different regions. The US Department of Transportation, for example, has different rules than the EU. Check with your carrier.

If you are having problems getting in touch with a person, stay calm. I’ve found that reaching out to a team via social media tends to be the best means to get an answer for your luggage and tracing it.

If you are traveling on multiple airlines. Check with the airlines you started travel with before you contact the airline you purchased the ticket from.

What Tips Do I Have For Luggage

(1) Always take a photo of your luggage and its contents

(2) Don’t ever pack anything you couldn’t bear to lose in your checked bag

(3) Place your own name tag and contact information on the bag AND inside it. I’ve seen tags for all multiple times

(4) Take a photo of the tag number once the airline has added it to your bag and always ask for a receipt. You never know when you will need it.

(5) Consider a high-tech tag like an Airtag if you want the piece of mind

(6) Avoid checking bags and travel with a carry on only