What to do if your suitcase is lost or delayed after a flight, including your lost baggage compensation claims and tips that might make it easier to find your bag quickly
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A lost or delayed suitcase public holidays ensures a stressful experience whether arriving at your destination or returning home.
However, there is good news; Just because your bag didn’t make it to you doesn’t mean your belongings are gone forever.
Airlines can often track your luggage (after all, it’s tagged at check-in), and in the event of delays, it’s rare for a single bag to be affected – it’s usually multiple passengers, so they can let you know when you’re expecting your bags arrive.
Still, that dreaded moment when you don’t see your bag on the carousel is no fun – we’ll take a look at the steps you can take to try and get your bag back quickly, as well as your rights to compensation.
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What to do if your luggage is lost?
Go to the baggage claim, which is located in the hall with the carousels – and do it immediately.
Most airlines require you to submit lost baggage forms within a few days of your flight – and the sooner you do this, the better your chances of having your baggage found if it was accidentally diverted.
At baggage claim you will be asked to fill out a form with your details such as your address at the destination and what your baggage looks like. Describe the bag as best you can – all the distinguishing features, the tags and some of the contents.
When you checked the bag in they gave you a label with the ID number so make sure you include this as it could be an important tool in locating your luggage.
Make sure you get a copy of the form just in case you need to prove you filed the claim with the airline or if you need it for your travel insurance if you end up making a claim.
Ask for the name of the person who helped you and get a phone number to call for updates on your bag.
What to do if your luggage is delayed?
It’s rare for a single bag to be delayed – it usually affects the majority of passengers on a flight. In any case, the airline should be able to track your luggage and give you an estimated time of arrival.
It’s frustrating, but talk to baggage claim again. You will likely be asked to fill out the same forms as lost baggage so they can help you identify your bag.
They should also ask you for a destination address so that your bag can be sent to you when it arrives. Follow the similar procedure for lost luggage – make sure you get copies of all forms, names of staff you speak to and a follow-up number to call for updates.
What if I’m abroad and my luggage is missing?
Unfortunately, once you’ve claimed your lost luggage, there’s not much to do other than play the waiting game.
Check into your hotel and if necessary, shop for some of the essentials you will need. Keep the receipts for this as you may be able to claim compensation from the airline.
What if they find your bag?
Success – your bag has been found! In most cases, the airline will arrange for it to be delivered to the address you provide on your forms, whether it is your home address or a hotel.
If you have to collect delayed baggage yourself, you may be able to claim compensation for travel expenses from the airline.
Am I entitled to compensation for lost or delayed baggage?
You have a legal right to compensation from the airline if your checked baggage is delayed, lost or damaged.
Slightly different rules apply to carry-on baggage, as it depends on whether the airline is at fault.
You can usually claim compensation for the bare essentials you need when your luggage is delayed (e.g. toiletries and underwear) as well as part of the cost of replacing or repairing lost luggage.
If you need to buy something, keep all of those receipts, as airlines usually ask for proof of your expenses.
If you wish to claim missing or delayed baggage, you must do so within 21 days of your flight.
You can find more information about your rights on the Citizens Advice Center website.
It’s worth checking your travel insurance to see if you’re covered for lost luggage.
While they cannot replace items of sentimental value, it could help you reclaim some of the monetary loss.
Make sure you keep a copy of the forms you filled out to claim your lost luggage at the airport and any receipts for the bare essentials you had to buy.
Tips to make your bag easy to find
- Before heading to the airport, make sure your bag is tagged with some of your details like your name and mobile phone number – in case your bag is lost this can help to identify it more easily. (Not to mention if someone accidentally picks it up they can contact you).
- Use ribbons or key rings to make your bag stand out, or opt for an eye-catching suitcase. Not only does this make it easier if you need to describe it on a lost baggage form, but it also minimizes the risk of someone else accidentally picking up your baggage!
- Remove any previous stickers and check-in labels from other trips as this can cause confusion when it comes to getting your luggage onto the correct aircraft and it can cause confusion when staff are trying to take your luggage to find.
Do not place valuables in your checked-in baggage. Don’t put anything of sentimental value in there either. If your bag goes missing, you’ll be grateful to have it with you.
Have a great tip on how to help a suitcase stand out? Let us know in the comments below.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/travel/news/what-your-luggage-lost-missing-18780639 What to do if your baggage is lost or delayed - and your claims for compensation