What to do if your luggage is lost

What to do if your luggage is lost?

When my Luggage was Delayed

I have been lucky and only had my luggage delayed once and that was because the connecting flight duration was too short to get the luggage transferred onto the next aircraft. 

I knew this was going to be an issue. I raised it with airline at the time of booking and also at check in. Both times I was ensured that my luggage would make it onto the connecting flight. But guess what, it didnt!!.

I only just made the connecting flight myself as flight number 1 was delayed. I had to run to get my 2nd flight and just had a feeling my bag wouldn’t make it. This was my first long haul and connecting flight and I must of been psychic as I knew I was not going to be picking up my suitcase off the carousel.

Part way through my second flight Helsinki to Shanghai I was informed by the air stewardess that my bag had not made the connection.
You can imagine my response I was slightly annoyed. Even flying business class doesnt stop this problem happening but the fact I had been told twice it would definitely make it this just seemed to make me more angry.

If they had been honest and said its a possibility that it might not make the connection at least I would have been prepared.

However I personally did prepare for delayed suitcases. I made sure that I had essential medication in my hand luggage. I also had a change of clothes, spare underwear and my toothbrush.

My experience of delayed luggage has put me off not booking direct flight routes and I will always think carefully of this before I book future flights.

delayed luggage 4 antique suitcases stacked on top on each other

My luggage arrived within 24 hours but it was nerve racking thinking I might not get it as I was doing a 6 week tour of China and Thailand and I am a plus size so would have really struggled to buy clothes out there.

I have heard stories of people not getting their luggage for all of their holiday so it could have been worse. I have a friend who is so unlucky she has had her luggage lost 3 times. One time was it was a diving holiday and it was all her diving gear so she had to borrow things from her travel companions which totally ruined her trip.

I keep saying I wont travel with her as I dont want my cases to get lost. Have you had your luggage lost? Do you have any tips or advice that I have not covered in this article please do get in contact. 

Are you entitled to compensation if your luggage is lost

I had done some research into my rights if luggage was lost and how to deal with lost luggage so I was aware of what I needed to do. I had to go to the lost luggage desk and fill in a form with the barcode I was given at check in.

I never knew that this barcode was a trace for your luggage and I have even discarded prior to collecting my luggage in the past. But since this experience I now make sure I keep it somewhere safe.

I was also aware I was entitled to compensation to buy essentials and this wasn’t even mentioned to me when I reported to the lost luggage desk in Shanghai. They took the details of my hotel and said the suitcase would arrive the next day and tried to send me on my way. I wasn’t going to let them fob me off and I enquired about the compensation again and this time after a little reluctance from the man on the desk I was given a pre loaded payment card with €100. It kind of make me wish my suitcase gets mislaid more often as this money comes in handy (I am only joking as it is such a inconvenience to have delayed luggage

I was lucky I only was without my case for 24hours people get their cases lost for the whole of their holiday and sometimes they are not even found at all which would be devestating as normally when I am going on a trip I take all my favourite clothes with me.

when you luggage is delay suitcase and foot with trainer

Deadlines for reporting damaged or lost luggage

Damaged luggage 7 days after getting your luggage
Missing or damaged contents 7 days after getting your luggage
Delayed or missing luggage 21 days after the flight
Lost luggage – it’s officially lost after 21 days As soon as possible after it’s officially lost

Source : Citizens Advice

Tips to reduce the risk of lost luggage

Unfortunately lost luggage is totally out of the travellers hand unless you only travel with hand luggage and dont let it out of your sight. However there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of lost and delayed luggage.

  • Ensure your luggage has your contact details on. No need to put full postal address as this can cause other security issues I have my surname postcode and mobile number on it.
  • Avoid transfers where possible
  • Do not need leave luggage unattended until it has been taken by the airline
  • Put important and expensive things in your hand luggage. If I am going on a beach holiday I put my swimsuit in my hand luggage if everything goes missing at least I can still sunbathe (As a plus size I would find it hard to find a suitable swimsuit abroad)
  • Remove old tags
  • Take pictures of your luggage so it can be identified
  • Make your luggage stand out, tie a bright ribbon around the handle or even better I have a suitcase cover so my suitcase doesnt look like many others. I love it!!

What to do if your luggage is lost

Every time I go to collect my luggage from the carousel I still have a feeling of anxiety until I see my bag heading towards me and then I sigh relief.

There has been times when my bag hasn’t come out right until the end and I have panicked that my suitcase has been lost but luckily apart from the time when I was informed on the plane before landing I have never experienced lost luggage but here is what to do if you luggage is not on the carousel.

  • Inform the airline straight away, most airports have a lost luggage desk to report to. If not contact them online ASAP.
  • Most airlines will now have a section on their website dedicated to reporting this.
  • Keep a record of all correspondence.

suitcase on carousel

Report damage to luggage

If your suitcase does arrive but it has been damaged you can also claim for this. This has actually happened to me on a few occasions and I normally think I will report it when I get back but I never do.

There was one occasion I borrowed a suitcase from my mum and it was a hard shell and it had 3 cracks on it when I collected it to go and enjoy my trip. Unfortunately I was in a country where my phone didnt work and I didnt have access to the internet for 7 days and by the time I could get online to report the damage I was past the deadline so they reported there is no further action they will take.

I know now to report any damage to luggage ASAP as there is a deadline which is normally 7 days. In the future if this happens again I will not leave the airport until I have reported it. I know I say this now but when you have been travelling for hours and all you want to do is get to your hotel it is sometimes you think you will report later.

There was another occasion when I was travelling around China with a friend and her backpack had the stitching pulled apart to get access into the bottom pocket.

ladies legs with suitcase

We think it happened as she had a bag of nuts in there but the annoying thing is there was a lock on the bag so why didnt they just break the lock instead of damaging the backpack we dont know.

We went to the desk to complain and she was given £10 compensation at the time we thought that would be OK as she could use this to get it repaired as we were in China and had seen lots of places to repair luggage but guess what when we actually needed one we didnt find one.

We later found out she should not have accepted that £10 because once she has accepted something that is the end of the case but she needed to report it again officially to the airline to get full compensation, as she ended up having to buy a new backpack which was more than £10.

How to report damage to your suitcase

  • Take photos of the damage
  • Report it directly at the airport if they have a customer service desk but dont accept the compensation they will give you there as this will only be a minimal amount.
  • Complete a ‘property irregularity report’ (PIR) at the airport – this is the form you get from customer services in the baggage claims hall.
  • If you didn’t report the problem at the airport, contact the airline or use their website to report the problem – and get the airline to confirm in writing that you reported it. Do ASAP due to deadlines
  • Keep a copy of your PIR or written confirmation to help with your claim.

If you want further information or believe the airline is not handling you complaint correct you can contact the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

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Tips to reduce risk of lost luggage

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