Lost Luggage: Air Travel Tips For Surviving An Emergency
Knowing what to do if you have lost luggage in transit is one of the most vital travel tips you will ever learn. You can lose luggage anywhere and at any time during a long trip, no matter how you travel.
Tourists lose luggage regularly in taxis, on buses and trains and anywhere in between a trip. Sometimes, luggage is stolen. However, lost luggage is a problem most commonly associated with airline travel.
So what do you do if your bag fails to appear on the airline’s baggage carousel? The first point on your agenda is to report this fact to the airline’s baggage office or window. This is usually where lost luggage reports are recorded and addressed. It is bound to be on the same level as the baggage conveyor.
Once there, you locate the baggage clerk and hand him your baggage stub. Do keep your cool and avoid panicking or blowing up at the poor fellow. Sometimes luggage for one flight arrives on another flight because of logistical problems.
Once you have reported lost luggage at the airline’s baggage claim counter or office, a clerk will attempt to track your bag on the computer. If it turns out that your luggage is not arriving on another flight, another search level kicks in.
The clerk will start making calls at all possible locations where your lost luggage may have wound up. If this yields no results, he will mobilize the baggage handlers to make a search for it.
At this point, input from you will be very useful. You should offer a detailed description of your individual luggage pieces. If you have a picture of your stuff – even one taken of you by a friend that shows your luggage too – give it to the baggage handlers.
After you have done this, do something to divert yourself. The matter is now out of your hands and there is no point in stewing or getting in their way!
Next, you will need to fill out a claim form in which you will need to give some personal information. This will include a description of your lost luggage. Give the baggage clerk contact details of wherever you will be over the next few days. Ensure that you ask for and stash away a photocopy of this form, too!
You will receive assurances to the effect that the airline will try to trace your lost baggage, and that you will receive it if it turns up. Listening to that can be pretty discouraging, because it confirms that your luggage is now officially lost.
There is, of course, an off-chance that the baggage clerk will find that your luggage had arrived on the baggage carousel. If this is the case, your baggage is most probably stolen. This then becomes a case for the police and insurance company.
If your lost luggage is traced, the airline company will definitely intimate you and return it to you. If not, most large airlines will do what they can to replace your lost luggage itself. They might offer to give you luggage pieces that match your lost ones closely (however, do not count on it!).
It is your legal right to receive compensation for the contents of your luggage. There is a limit to your entitlement, of course. It varies according to the airline in question. In any case, find out the airline’s reimbursement policy should you choose to purchase replacements for items lost in your luggage during transit.