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Where is my luggage?

Wed, 09/21/2016
Lost Baggage

What are you entitled to when luggage is delayed or lost?

After a long flight the only kind of claim most of us think about is getting to baggage claim, collecting our luggage from the carousel and getting off to our final destination beyond the airport halls. But what if your bag isn’t there? That’s when another claim comes in to play: the claims counter for lost luggage.

Waiting in line with the other poor souls whose bags haven’t turned up you’ll undoubtedly think about what was in the bag, trying to make a list in your mind of all the things you’d packed. You’ll wonder what you are entitled to claim back and whether the airline will compensate you. You’ll wonder why so many other people’s bags have gone missing too and why there are only two people working at the lost and found luggage counter.

You bag might be declared delayed, or it might be declared lost. A delay means the airline probably knows where it is and therefore also when it may arrive at your destination. If the members of staff at the counter say that your bag is on the next flight, check that they can confirm this. They should have taken the number on your bag tag, of which there’ll be a copy on your boarding pass, put this into their computer and looked through the data.

The airline may be able to send your bag on to you if you cannot stay at the airport and wait for it to arrive. If you choose to wait for your bag, ask the airline for a meal voucher so that you can go and get a coffee or sit in a restaurant whilst waiting for your bag.

If the airline representative says that your luggage is missing, don’t panic and don’t take it out on them. There is little the lost and found staff can do at this point, and almost all bags declared missing at this point are found again within a week.

Making a claim

Airlines are not liable to compensate for lost and delayed baggage, but they should reimburse you for any expenses which are directly related to the incident. That may mean that if something happens on a homebound flight, the airline will not pay out as the chances are you have everything you need at home and do not need to buy items to replace the delayed ones in the time being.

Lost luggage is never found and never returned will be reimbursed. Often you will have to provide proof that you purchased the items which were lost in order to get a payment.

For lost and delayed luggage the airline is liable to pay up to a limit of around 1200 Euros.

Baggage that is damaged and delayed can be liable for up to around 5100 Euros.

You are entitled to claim the full value of your luggage, if it exceeds these limits, if you made a special declaration of interest and paid the supplementary fee when checking in the baggage.

Claims for lost luggage are to be made between 21 days and 28 days since the flight, and claims for delayed baggage are to be made 7 days after having received it.

Example Scenarios

You’re travelling for on business and your luggage is delayed, with your suit and toiletries inside, it won’t arrive until after an important meeting. In this case the airline will be willing to refund you for a toothbrush and toiletries to use whilst the luggage is delayed, but the chances they will refund a brand new suit are slim as the suit will have lasting value to you. They may refund you for a change of underwear, provided you don’t splurge on an expensive brand. So keep your expenses to a reasonable amount if you want the airline to cough up.

Bear in mind most airlines won’t offer a reimbursement for clothing unless bags are delayed for more than 24 hours on an outbound flight.

Your baggage is delayed, and you leave the airport, and you get a phone call a couple of hours later and it has arrived. In this case the airline should reimburse you the cost of returning to the airport to pick up your luggage.

Your bag was lost on an outbound flight, you have to spend money on clothes, toiletries and the like whilst on holiday as you don’t have anything except your hand luggage. You fly home after two weeks and there is still not sign of your bag’s whereabouts. You are at home another week, now it has been 21 days since your luggage went missing, so you should make a claim to the airline. In such a case they are liable to reimburse you the value of the lost luggage, plus the extra expenses you incurred whilst on holiday without checked baggage. The liability limit for this case is 1200€, or around £1000.

Always remember your spending must be verifiable, so keep receipts and take pictures of the items you buy.

Our Lost & Found team is always here to help, go to our site to start your claim or if you need advice, chat to one of our customer service representatives.