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Lost Luggage Information

When we pack for our holidays, the thought of having our luggage lost, stolen or damaged doesn’t even cross our minds, but did you know that more than 20 million pieces of luggage going missing every year?

Around 98% of luggage that goes missing is usually just delayed and is eventually returned to its owners. However, sometimes, luggage is lost, stolen or damaged.

If you’re victim of lost luggage here are some tips on what you should do:

Report Your Luggage As Missing
When you check-in a piece of luggage it immediately becomes the responsibility of the airline you are travelling with. As soon as you discover your baggage is missing you must report it to the Lost Luggage Desk at the airport.

Do not leave the airport without completing the paperwork for your lost luggage. You’ll need to give a description of your luggage, including any notable contents and who you were flying with.

Lost Luggage Tracking
Once you have reported your luggage as missing and given a comprehensive description, you will be given a reference number that will enable you to track the progress. This can be done over the phone and also online. Try to get contact details so that you can follow up your claim.

Emergency Purchases
If your luggage has gone missing on your outward journey and you have no luggage, you are allowed to make some emergency purchases that the airline will cover the cost of. The total value of making the emergency purchases will differ from airline to airline. When you report your luggage as missing, ask about emergency purchases and the amount you are allowed to spend.

It is your right to be reimbursed for emergency purchases and is stated as such in the Montreal Convention by which all airlines are bound, but be sensible, expensive designer clothes won’t be covered!

When Your Luggage is Officially Lost
The Montreal Convention requires airlines to treat a bag as lost after twenty-one days.

Claiming for lost luggage
Under the Montreal Convention claims should be made to an airline in writing with the following specified time limits:

  • Damaged baggage – seven days from the receipt of the bags
  • Delayed baggage – twenty-one days from delivery
  • Lost baggage – no time limit specified in the Convention - but passengers are advised to make the complaint as soon as possible after the bag has been missing for twenty-one days, or after the airline has declared the bag lost if sooner

Compensation Levels for Lost Luggage
The amount of compensation you can claim from your airline is capped under the Montreal Convention.

Whilst each airline differs; the general rule of thumb seems to be that most passengers are paid around £800 per piece of lost luggage. However, whilst making your claim it’s highly likely that you will be asked for receipts for all or some of your luggage. Whilst it’s unrealistic to think you’ll have receipts for everything, it’s worth keeping receipts for anything you’ve bought specifically for your holiday.

Claims for Lost Luggage Through Travel Insurance
As previously stated, if your luggage goes missing after it has been checked-in then your claim is against the airline. If the luggage is lost while it is in your possession then you can make claim via your travel insurance policy, assuming you are covered for baggage. However, a travel insurer won’t cover your luggage while it is in transit as they know that during this time the airline is responsible.

Top Tips To Protect Your Luggage Whilst Flying

  1. Use high quality luggage to start with. A strong and secure piece of luggage could prevent any damages and thus avoid any damaged luggage claims.
  2. It’s important to use an external luggage label, however, there’s a risk that it could be ripped off. So place a luggage label inside your case. Any lost luggage, if not able to be identified on the outside will be opened up by airport officials. If you have a piece of paper on the top with your journey destination on and contact details you could be reunited with your luggage far quicker.
  3. Keep receipts for any items you have bought especially for your holiday – we all like a bit of pre-holiday shopping so keep those receipts until you return safety.
  4. Think twice about packing expensive designer clothes, shoes and jewellery items. If they are lost it’s very difficult to claim for anything over the £800 flat rate lost luggage compensation fee.