It is your worst fear come to life when the airport loses your luggage. Your suitcase is often filled with a slew of your favorite outfits and maybe even a few jewelry pieces that can never be replaced. Fortunately, there are steps you can take when this happens to help save you a bit of heartache.
It is not always cut and dry when this happens, but there are some key things you should do when your luggage is lost. Negotiation will be your friend, as well as being informed on the proper actions you should take when this happens. Keep reading to learn about ten things to do if the airport loses your luggage.
10 Go To The Lost Luggage Counter
The first step is to inform the lost luggage counter before you leave the airport. The bigger airports generally have one nearby the carousel, but if not, you can always ask an airline employee for assistance in finding the right authority.
It is important you do this before you leave because often the fine print says you have a certain amount of time after your arrival to make a claim. You will provide them with your information so if it is found, they can contact you and know where to send it.
9 Don't Panic Before The 24 Hour Mark Hits
Oftentimes the airport will find your missing luggage within 24 hours of your arrival, so there is no need to panic until this time limit is reached. They usually find the bags on the next flight or mixed in with the wrong group of bags from a different flight and are able to return it to you on the same day. If it was sent to the wrong airport it may take a couple of days, but the good news is that airports have been improving their statistics of finding lost items.
8 Keep Your Receipts
It is usually an airport's policy to reimburse you for certain things you had to buy because your luggage went missing. There is no law that says they, as it is usually a policy set up by the airline itself.
They will often pay for things like toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, and other necessities that you wouldn't have been able to put in your carry-on bag. You should always check before you leave and it might take a little bit of negotiation on your part for them to pay for these things.
7 Ask If They Offer An Overnight Kit
If they refuse to reimburse you or you simply don't care what you use at night, then consider asking for an overnight kit. These will be equipped with simple toiletries that will help you through the first night without your luggage.
It probably won't come with extra clothes or the particular products you use for your skincare routine, but it will be enough to save you a few dollars and not have to worry about reimbursement. This is a great compromise for airlines, especially when they don't provide reimbursement until your luggage is officially declared officially lost.
6 If It's Declared Lost, Obtain A Written Claim
Airports usually declare luggage lost anywhere between 5 and 30 days, and it is super important that you receive a written claim defining the damages. You might have to fill out an extra form at the airport or online, and generally, they will reimburse you up to $3,500.
You need this claim to ensure a check is written that will cover the costs you suffered due to them losing your belongings. You should check the carrier's website before filling out the form because it will generally say what other fees they will reimburse you for, as it is considered part of the inconvenience.
5 Other Companies May Have Insured Your Luggage
If you bought a ticket or paid for your luggage through a certain credit card company or travel agency, they might have added insurance for your luggage. This is usually an optional addition, but there are times when it is added automatically as thanks for using them for your travels. This is fairly good to have if your bag is worth more than the $3,500 limit of the airline, as they are the next people you should contact for reimbursement.
4 If The Cash Offer Isn't Enough, See About A Voucher
The airport will generally give you cash for the depreciated value of your clothing items and many times they will ask for receipts even if they are a few years old. This can end with you losing more money in the deal than you might have liked, which is why sometimes a voucher is better.
These vouchers should allow you to travel and the end cost of these should double or triple whatever cash value they offered you. This gives you the option to take a few more trips on their dime, while still receiving what you feel you deserve for the inconvenience of your last adventure.
3 Check For Damages If They Do Find It
If they do happen to find your luggage, the first thing you should do is check for major damages. They probably won't pay for things like minor scrapes or dents, but a missing or broken wheel, and some missing items might have a case.
If a fragile item inside of it is broken, that probably won't be paid for unless it was packaged in airport-approved safety packaging that would prevent it from being damaged while in their hands.
2 Make Sure They Deliver Your Luggage To You
If your luggage is found, see if they will deliver it to your hotel or wherever you are staying free of charge. Many will, but there are others that demand you come and pick it up or pay for them to deliver it.
This should be a part of your negotiation process with the airline when you first report it stolen so you ensure you are both on the same page. It can be a pain and can take some persistence, but at the end of the day, it is not your fault they lost your bag.
1 Be Reasonable
Yes, the airline did wrong you when they lost your luggage, but reporting that you packed several extremely valuable things in your bag won't help your case. If they feel you are lying about the items you had in your bag they can deny your claim entirely, which would really put a damper on anyone's day.
The golden rule here is not to cheat the system, and instead, be honest about your expenses and negotiate with the airline to come up with a solution that is suitable for both of you.