You must have already read on securing luggage while on trip, yet in some awful conditions you might be waiting at the baggage carousel for your bags to arrive but you cannot locate them. Most of the so-called “lost” baggage isn’t really lost, actually, it’s delayed. Mostly airlines reunite you with your baggage within 24 hours or less.
If airlines don’t get back your bag within five days, it falls into a category of “maybe really lost.” An airline defines “really lost” baggage if it’s untraceable at anywhere from five to 30 days, then in such unfortunate situations we have compiled everything you need to know to navigate these tricky waters.
Report your lost Baggage immediately
While it is very little that you can do to assure yourself that your bags aren’t really lost in most cases probability of reuniting with your bags is very high. Ensure that before leaving airport go to the baggage claim office and report the complaint as it is mandate among many airlines that you report the lost luggage within a certain time frame. Also in the report you mention your personal details along with bags information so that once it’s recovered you get back your bags safe and this gives you an official tracking number which can be used for follow up with airlines. In rare cases you can be reimbursed for any purchases you need to make without your luggage. Most airlines will only reimburse for basic toiletries, inexpensive clothes and undergarments. Under no circumstances any valuables will be reimbursed.
Be prepared to make a claim
The airline will do everything to find your bag and avoid having to pay out but once it’s crossed 21 days, your luggage is officially considered lost, even if later it turns up again. In a day or two maximum baggage is traced out. However, you should be ready to file the claim with travel insurance company explaining in detail what was stuffed in the bag, if your bags are officially gone and is truly off the airline’s radar. The minimum requirement is you should know and identify the maximum amount allowed by each airline and have an itemized list handy of everything that was in your bag. In case airline is willing to make you upfront payment you can negotiate better if you know how much you are entitled from insurance.
Don’t be afraid to ask
One of the best ways to get an update on your baggage and also receiving some sort of reimbursement is ask as many questions as possible.
- How soon can you locate my bag?
- What is the contact number on which I should call for updates on my missing bag?
- When can I expect an update from your airlines about my missing bag?
- If my bag is found, will your company pay to have the luggage delivered to me at my destination?
- Is the delivery of luggage free or paid?
- If paid, why should I pay for the delayed baggage?
Ask for a refund on your baggage fee
Ensure that you ask for a refund from airline on the aggravatingly huge amount that you’ve paid so that your baggage accompanies you on your flight. Since you now find out that it didn’t, you deserve your money back. It completely depends on the airline to reimburse you or not but you can definitely ask for it.
Don’t be under impression that airlines will deliver the delayed luggage to you free of cost. Confirm exactly how, when, and where the airline will deliver your bag. Normally, an airline delivers your bag the same day it arrives at airport. Most of the airlines deliver delayed bags at no cost to you, but some may ask you to pay. Here’s is when your negotiation skills should be shown off. Airlines even say almost nothing beyond “We’ll get you bag back” then there is nothing to negotiate about it.
As it is always mentioned that don’t put the “can’t be without it” items in your checked baggage (medicine, important papers, jewelry, laptops, etc). Carry it with you in cabin luggage. As a too much precautionary measure you can make a list of packed items and their estimated value before you leave. Keep receipts for expensive items you pack, as you may be required to send copies of them to the airline or insurance company in the case of a lost bag. Get rid of old claim tags to prevent confusion about your destination.
Pro tip: Click a photo of your baggage before you depart: it'll be more effective than describing your black suitcase.
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