Unfortunately, lost luggage is one of the most common problems encountered by travellers. It can be stressful, so we’ve compiled a mini guide so you know just what to do if you find yourself in this situation.
Before anything else, try not to panic. Airlines and travel insurers deal with this all the time and are well equipped to help you out.
Most travel insurance policies will cover you if your luggage is lost, but your first port of call should always be your airline to try and recover your belongings as quickly as possible.
Claiming with your airline:
- Report the loss with the airline at the baggage desk or the customer services desk in the baggage hall. You may also be able to avoid the queues at the desk and report your bags missing on your airline’s website.
- Fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) and ask if the airline knows when your bag will arrive.
- Request delivery to your home or accommodation to save yourself another trip to the airport. Many airlines will return your baggage to you for free, but make sure to double check this with your provider.
- Check the airline’s compensation and reimbursement policy. Keep all receipts (original, dated receipts are best) for essential purchases – toiletries, underwear etc. Most airlines will have an allocated amount per person which you can claim – for instance, Easyjet will reimburse up to £25 per person per day for up to 3 days – but check this with your airline as each will be slightly different.
- Ask how long you have to make a claim and when your luggage is considered lost rather than delayed.
Documents you’ll need to make a claim:
Most airlines will ask for these when you file a claim, although there may be some slight variation between providers.
- Your boarding card(s)
- Your luggage labels and receipts from baggage check-in (these have a bar-code and number to identify your luggage)
- Proof you reported the problem, e.g. your PIR form or email from the airline
- Receipts for things you had to buy as a result of your luggage being delayed
- Proof of purchase for lost or damaged items, e.g. receipts or credit card statements
- Photos of any damage to your luggage or contents
- Quotes for any repairs you claim for, e.g. from a luggage repair business
Claiming with your credit card company or home insurance:
Some items such as laptops and other expensive gadgets may not be covered by the airline, but may be covered by the credit card used to buy them, or your home/ renters insurance. You will most likely need a proof of loss statement from the airline, as well as receipts of the lost/ damaged items in order to claim compensation.
Claiming with your travel insurance provider:
If you have not already received compensation from the airline or your credit card company, your next step is to go to your travel insurance provider. Travel insurance companies may require slightly different things than the airline, so make sure to check with them what documents and proof you’ll need before making a claim.
At NOW Travel, we require written confirmation of the length of the delay from the appropriate airline or transport company, and all receipts for the essential items purchased. If your baggage is permanently lost, we will deduct any payment we make for delayed baggage from the payment we make for your overall claim for baggage. You can check our policy wording documents for further info on this, and other similar situations.
For more detailed information check with the Citizens Advice Bureau and your airline, as well as your credit card company and travel insurance provider.
Lost Luggage Prevention:
While it’s impossible to make sure that luggage never gets lost, there are a number of steps you can take to make it easier to get your bags and belongings back to you, or ensure it is easier to make a claim if needed.
- Photograph your suitcase and the contents. Clear photographs of your suitcase will be helpful when you are asked what your bag looks like. You’ll be able to give a detailed and accurate description, which will make your bag easier to identify correctly from hundreds of others.
- Make your suitcase look distinctive. Straps, ribbons, patches and colourful covers are all great to make your bag stand out from the crowd. Even if your luggage doesn’t get lost, this makes it so much easier to find in the baggage reclaim – it’s a win, win!
- Keep all the receipts of items you’ve bought for your trip so you can make an accurate claim. It’s helpful to keep these together and have a copy stored on the cloud in case you lose the physical copies.
- Photograph your forms in case you need extra copies of them later on
- Use a luggage tag which clearly shows your contact details and address. You should also put this information inside your bag so it can still be found if the external luggage tag comes off.