Click here for the ThereArePlaces Home Page Click here for our Destination Travel Guides
Things Travelers Need To Know

Packing Luggage

Luggage and Packing

If your luggage is delayed or lost by the airlines, you must follow various procedures including filing a claim a recover your property or establish your right to compensation.    Although you may never lose your luggage, you should read our article to familiarize yourself with the policies and limitations of the agreements that cover reimbursements for lost luggage


Things Travelers Need To Know
Healthy Travel
Maps and Guidebooks
Money Handling
Safety and Security
Strategies for Touring
Passports, Visas, Customs
Travel Planning
Travel Tips



Travel Advice - Delayed/lost luggage and air travel

If you have waited at the conveyer belt and your luggage does not appear, there are two possibilities: either the bag has been delayed, or it has been lost. If you and your suitcase do not connect at your destination, do not panic. Airlines usually track down about 98% of the bags they misplace and return them to their owners within hours. In many cases, they will absorb reasonable expenses you incur while they look for your missing belongings. You and the airline may have different ideas of what is reasonable, however, and the amount they will pay is subject to negotiation.

If your bags do not come off the conveyor belt, report this to the airline before you leave the airport. Fill out any required forms and make sure that you get a copy. If the form does not contain the name of the person who filled it out, ask for it. Get an appropriate phone number for following up (not the Reservations number).

Be prepared for a long wait if you need to file the official forms.  Baggage loss and delay is relatively rare and the airlines maintain only a skeleton staff at most offices.  When traveling overseas, you may find that the airport rather than the airlines operates the lost baggage office.

Do not assume that the airline will deliver the bag without charge when it is found; ask to determine how you will be treated. Most carriers set guidelines for their airport employees that allow them to disburse some money at the airport for emergency purchases. The amount depends on whether or not you are away from home and how long it takes to track down your bags and return them to you. If the airline does not provide you a cash advance, it may still reimburse you later for the purchase of necessities. Discuss with the carrier the types of articles that would be reimbursable, and keep all receipts. For replacement clothing or other articles, the carrier might offer to absorb only a portion of the purchase cost, on the basis that you will be able to use the new items in the future.

Note: if you were traveling on a multi carrier trip, it may be that your bag was delayed or lost by a carrier other than the one who transported you to your final destination. When this happens, you are often out of luck regarding reimbursements since the final carrier may claim that your bag was never loaded on their flight. Instead, they may refer you to the original carrier. The carrier dilemma can be very difficult when you are traveling internationally and the originating airline does not have an office at your destination. Of course, the airline that delivered you to your destination will do their best to track your bag and have it delivered to you.

If your bag is not found and “officially" regarded as "lost”, you will have to submit a second, more detailed claim form.  Failure to complete the second form when required may delay your claim. Missing the deadline for filing it could invalidate your claim altogether. The airline will usually refer your claim form to a central office, and the negotiations between you and the airline will begin. If your flight was a connection involving two carriers, the final carrier is normally the one responsible for processing your claim, even if it appears that the first airline lost the bag. Airlines do not automatically pay the full amount of every claim they receive.

First, they will use the information on your form to estimate the value of your lost belongings. Like insurance companies, airlines consider the depreciated value of your possessions, not the original price, or the replacement costs.

If you are tempted to exaggerate your claim, do not. Airlines may completely deny claims they feel are inflated or fraudulent. They often ask for sales receipts and other documentation to back up claims, especially if a large amount of money is involved. If you do not keep extensive records, you can expect to dicker with the airline over the value of your goods.

Generally, it takes an airline anywhere from six weeks to three months to pay you for your lost luggage. When they tender a settlement, they may offer you the option of free tickets on future flights in a higher amount than the cash payment. Ask about all restrictions on these tickets, such as "blackout" periods and how far before departure you are permitted to make a reservation.


Limits on liability

If your bags are delayed, lost, or damaged on a domestic trip, the airline can invoke a ceiling of $2,500 per passenger on the amount of money they will pay you, regardless of the value of whatever you have packed in the bags.

On international trips, a treaty (the Warsaw Convention) sets the liability limit. Unless you buy excess valuation, the liability limit is $9.07 per pound ($20 per kilo).

In order to limit its liability to this amount, the airline must use one of the following procedures: 1) the carrier weighs your bags at check-in and records this weight on your ticket. The airline's maximum liability to you is that weight multiplied by $9.07 (or by $20, if the weight was recorded in kilos). 2) Instead of weighing your luggage, the carrier assumes that each of your bags weighs the maximum that it agrees to accept as checked baggage, usually 70 pounds (32 kilos). This yields a liability limit of about $640 per bag. This international limit also applies to domestic segments of an international journey. This is the case even if the domestic and international flights are on separate tickets and you claim and re-check your bag between the two flights.

Keep in mind that the liability limits are maximums. If the depreciated value of your property is worth less than the liability limit, this lower amount is what you will be offered. If the airline's settlement does not fully reimburse your loss, check your homeowner's or renter's insurance; it sometimes covers losses away from the residence. Some credit card companies and travel agencies offer optional or even automatic supplemental baggage coverage.

  Top of page         Luggage Home

If you need to find information about Destinations or other Things Travelers Need To Know, try Googling ThereArePlaces.

Custom Search





About ThereArePlaces       Contact Us     Legal   Privacy Policy    Site Map      Media Center
Click here to return to the ThereArePlaces homepage Click here for information on our copyright

ThereArePlaces Home     Destination Travel Guides    Travel Planning Guides