Imagine you’re standing at the luggage carousel after a long flight. You’re eager to get to your hotel, take a shower and relax as you prepare to explore a new place. Only your luggage isn’t coming, and you soon realize your bag has been lost. Though this isn’t a frequent occurrence, those who travel often may lose their luggage once or twice. When you’ve lost your things, it makes sense for panic to set in. Here’s how to remain calm and get your stuff back.
Find The Lost Luggage Desk
Once you’ve waited at least 30 minutes for your bag, and everyone else seems to have retrieved theirs and moved on with their travels, you should find the lost luggage desk. Every airport has these in the baggage claim area where you can file a report for your missing luggage.
Typically, at check-in your bag will be tagged before it’s sent off to the plane. This tag has a barcode that makes your luggage traceable, it also indicates where the bag was coming from and where it was meant to go. If your bag somehow ended up on the wrong flight, at the wrong carousel, or was left behind at your departure airport, then the airline you flew with should be able to find the bag. Also at check-in you will be given a smaller version of this tag with the same information.
At the missing luggage claims desk you should give the attendant your copy of the bag tag to see if they can find your belongings. You should also get in touch with the airline directly, making a call or finding a desk in the airport for the airline is sufficient. In these interactions, it is essential that you give every detail about the bag you can including size, color, brand, etc.
Good news for you: Airlines are legally responsible for locating and delivering your missing luggage to you at your final destination free of charge. This means if your bag is successfully located they will actually bring the luggage to your front door.
File A Claim For Compensation
If however, an airline cannot locate your luggage between five and fifteen hours after your flight, it will be considered lost and untraceable. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if this happens the airline is responsible for compensating for the bag’s contents. For domestic flights in the U.S. you can be compensated up to $3,800 and for international flights up to $1,800. This rule also applies for delayed luggage. Because a passenger is inconvenienced by missing clothes, toiletries, shoes, etc. they will likely have to buy all new things at their destination.
Tips To Make The Process Easier
There are a few things you can do before you travel to ensure your luggage is traceable and important possessions don’t get lost. Before you go to the airport, you’ll need to label your luggage with an attachable luggage tag or identification card. This should list your full name, contact info, and home address.
If you’re bringing a carry-on, you might consider putting your most valuable belongings in this bag instead of your checked bag. This way you feel relaxed knowing that all the really important stuff is always with you.
Luckily, even if the airline loses your bag, you can track it with an Apple AirTag. This small keychain-like device syncs their location to your other Apple devices so if you place one in your checked bag when you pack, you can always see where it is. This information will be helpful when communicating with an airline to find your bag.
Try Not To Stress
Most importantly, try to stay calm. Lost luggage is typically found and returned to the owner with a quick turnaround time. If not, then you can use the compensation you receive to replace your lost clothing and travel accessories.