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Lost Luggage Tips

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If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to lose your luggage while traveling, you know how frustrating and inconvenient the experience can be. Just leaving the airport without your luggage is a painful experience. The most important thing you need to know is that airlines usually reunite passengers and their luggage within 24 to 48 hours.

We have created a comprehensive step-by-step guide to help you navigate the experience and perhaps even find reimbursement for related expenses. The airline—and any insurance policies you have just might reimburse you for daily expenses and the replacement value of lost items. Taking action right away is important and might we suggest that you print this educational blog and carry it with youwhen you travel.

Step 1 –Contact Airline

As soon as you realize your bag didn’t arrive on the baggage carousel, you should contact the airline. Do not leave the airport without speaking with an airline agent. If the airport has a lost baggage office, report your loss there. Otherwise, speak to a gate agent, a reservations agent or a baggage handler to make sure you report your loss. Get the name of each person you speak with. If you can’t find an agent, call the airline’s main phone line to make a report. Complete any airline forms while you are at the airport. Make sure you get a phone number to call and receive updates on your lost luggage. You should also check the airline’s website for their lost luggage policies. Write down any instructions the airline agent gives you.

Step 2 – Request Delivery to your Destination

Make sure to leave your contact information with the airline agent so the airline can contact you with updates. Most airlines will hand-deliver your luggage to you once it arrives. If the agent doesn’t mention this delivery option, ASK for it. Demand it! It can save you a trip to the airport to claim your luggage.

Step 3 – Request Refund of Baggage Fee

If you were charged a luggage handling fee (usually about $25), you can ask the airline to reimburse that amount if your luggage is delayed more than 12 hours from the time you report the loss.

Step 4 – Submit a Claim

If your luggage doesn’t show up within 24 hours of the time you reported it missing, most airlines will offer compensationifyou file a claim. The claim form will ask for the value of your lost contents and any incidental expenses you experienced as a result of the loss of your luggage. These expenses include things like hairbrushes, toothbrushes, toothpaste, cell phone chargers, hair gel etc. You can be compensated up to $3,500 per ticketed passenger for lost, damaged, and delayed baggage for domestic flights. You will need a list of everything that was in your bag and the approximate dollar value. Consider taking a photo of all your goods beforeyou pack them. The airline will use this information to determine your compensation for lost and damaged items. It is also a good idea to take a photo of your suitcases. Don’t forget the value of the suitcase itself is part of the claim.

Step 5 – Keep Receipts of Incidentals

Most airlines will reimburse you up to $50 per day for up to five days for reasonable incidental expenses described above. As a general rule of thumb, buy items that you would normally buy to replace what was lost. Doing so makes it more likely that your compensation claim gets approved quickly. You will need to provide a receipt for every incidental purchase to be compensated.

Step 6 – Check Credit Card Benefits

The credit card you used to book your flight might also offer lost or delayed baggage benefits. These benefits might even be activated sooner than the airline’s benefits. As an example, some American Express cards cover the effects of lost luggage immediately. Amex will direct you to replace everything you need, submit the receipts for what you bought with your Amex card and those charges will be removed from your monthly statement. It’s an easy process. Read your credit card’s guide to benefits to understand the notification deadlines. You will need to provide a Proof of Loss Statement from the airline to your credit card company.

Step 7 –Consider Travel Insurance and Homeowner’s Insurance

If your credit cards don’t offer baggage insurance, you still might be able to get compensation if you purchased a travel insurance policy for your trip. Also check with your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if they cover lost or delayed luggage. Travel insurance or homeowner’s insurance coverage will always be considered as secondary coverage and never primary.

Step 8 – Inspect Luggage

When you finally receive your luggage, make sure that you immediately inspect it thoroughly for damage. It’s likely the airline will offer to repair or replace luggage they damaged. You need to notify them within 24 hours of receiving your luggage and discovering damage. It would be best to inspect the exterior of your luggage in the presence of the person who delivered it to you. If you discover damage, you will need to submit another claim form for the repair/replacement process. The airlinemayalso require the original proof of purchase receipt for the damaged suitcase and contents. Take pictures of your damaged luggage to support your claim. The airline may require you to submit these photos.


Step 9 – Missing or Damaged Items

In addition to inspecting your suitcase for damage, and your clothing for loss or damage, check to see if any items are missing. If they are, contact the airport to see if they are holding any items that may have become separated from your luggage. If they don’t have the missing item, you might be able to receive compensation from the airline or an insurance policy for these missing or damaged items.