What To Do When Luggage is Lost or Damaged in Airlines
That could be a nightmare: After getting off the plane, you stretched your tired body and waited in front of the carousel for your luggage. Everyone else from your flight seemed to have already found their luggage, but your luggage was nowhere to be found.
There were two possibilities: it was mishandled or it was lost. If this happens to you, what are you going to do? Where should you complain? Should you report it before you leave the airport? Or should you go back and call the luggage department?
What Happened to your Luggage?
Luggage missing does happen. In fact, about 25% of the year’s total complaints are related to lost luggage. It is reported that an estimated 30 million pieces of luggage were lost by the airlines every year.
What are the reasons causing the losing and damaging luggage? The growing number of passengers and improved security procedures are the two major reasons for mishandled baggage or lost property.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced a greater than 10% rise in the number of mishandled bags in the United States, and their explanation was that only a handful of airports around the world use state-of-the-art Radio Frequency Identification Tags which are capable of sending digital information over secure wireless networks.
What Can you do When you Find your Luggage was Lost or Not Traceable?
If you have not received your baggage in the carousel, don’t panic. You can trace your lost luggage via the websites of the airlines you are flying with or call them directly. On these websites, you will be instructed to complete the Tracing and Claim form and mail it to the airlines that you are traveling with, along with a copy of your delayed baggage report, passenger ticket receipt. Some of the airlines like American Airlines require receipts for items valued over $250.00.
The Solution to Lost Luggage When You are at the Airport
Report your missing or damaged luggage immediately to the airline. If you delay, your claim for baggage compensation may not be accepted because most carriers require the report within a certain time limit. Go to the baggage claim desk directly and tell the receptionists what has happened to your luggage. They will take your report and try to find it for you.
If they have tried but still cannot locate your baggage at the airport, you should be clear about their baggage claim procedure (In most cases, you will be informed of that information at the reception desk). Then ask for a form of a lost/damaged baggage claim and leave your personal information through which you can be contacted.
Keep copies of all forms and airline documents, including tickets, baggage claim checks and any correspondence you receive. Some airlines compensate for lost or delayed luggage. Some airlines help to buy basic necessities. Ask for the phone number of the airline’s claim department so that you can track the progress of your claim.
If your luggage still can not be found, you may ask for compensation. Different airlines provide various compensations depending on the liability policy your airline has for lost, delayed or damaged baggage.
How to Prevent Luggage Loss Before you Fly
1. Pack the basic necessities in your carry-ons in case your checked baggage is delayed or lost. Just make sure that you are not carrying prohibited items in your carry-ons.
2. Check the airline’s policy for lost or delayed baggage. If you feel the limited liability does not cover the value of your bag, require a higher liability. Of course, you will be luggage charged additionally.
If the airline you are traveling with has no higher liability, you had better carry all valuable possessions in your carry-on.
3. Check the list of items that airline baggage liability does not cover. Check your luggage and see if you have valuable items packed but not covered with baggage liability.
For most airlines, their liability does not cover money, silverware, negotiable papers and securities, business documents and prototypes and electronic and office equipment.