What To Do If An Airline Loses Your Baggage
For a few years, individuals felt comparatively safe about checking their baggage for a flight. However the chaos of air journey this summer season has thrown chilly water on that confidence.
The percentages of airways dropping your baggage have reportedly “skyrocketed” this 12 months, with large will increase within the numbers of “mishandled” ― i.e., misplaced, broken, delayed or pilfered ― baggage.
“Through the pandemic, many airports and airways have been pressured to scale back their workforce in response to the restrictions the world was dealing with,” Alex Miller, founder and CEO of Upgraded Factors, instructed HuffPost. “Now, as these restrictions have been lifted, persons are returning to their travels once more, leaving airports and airways struggling to deal with the surge of passengers. This mixture of an elevated demand, with a scarcity of employees, as recruitment hasn’t been in a position to counterbalance the rise, is leaving many vacationers to reach at their vacation spot with out their baggage.”
The result’s numerous airport images exhibiting mounds of misplaced baggage and a number of annoyed vacationers.
In fact, the plain resolution is to pack much less and keep away from checking a bag, however typically that’s simply not an choice. So what must you do if you end up on this state of affairs and find yourself separated out of your bag? Under, consultants share their recommendation.
File a lacking bag report.
“The very first thing you need to do should you discover that your baggage didn’t arrive at your vacation spot is to report it instantly,” Miller suggested. “The airline that you just flew on is chargeable for guaranteeing your baggage is delivered to your vacation spot.”
Go to the airline’s baggage desk and have the customer support consultant see if they’ll find your baggage. It’s potential it was delayed however will arrive on a later flight. Or maybe it arrived early and was positioned in a separate space.
You may additionally be capable to decide your bag’s location on the airline’s cell app. If the bag continues to be lacking, nevertheless, it’s time to file a declare.
“When you’ve knowledgeable airline employees about your lacking baggage, it’s important that you just file a lacking baggage report,” Miller added. “You need to present an in depth description of your baggage, together with measurement, coloration and materials of the bag. The report must also embody your present tackle and make contact with info so the airline can contact you. You must also preserve a be aware of any reference or monitoring quantity that you just obtain from the misplaced baggage desk.”
Discover out what compensation you’re owed.
“Instantly submitting a lacking bag report with the airline will each immediate them to start trying to find your bag and begin the clock for whenever you’ll be capable to declare compensation,” famous Scott Keyes, creator of “Take Extra Holidays” and founding father of Scott’s Low-cost Flights. “If it’s been lacking for between 5 to 14 days, at that time you’re entitled to reimbursement of the lacking bag and its contents, as much as $3,800 for home flights and $1,780 for worldwide flights.”
Along with speaking to the airline, he really useful checking to see in case your bank card gives any compensation for delayed or misplaced baggage as nicely.
“Many routinely embody this, so long as you used it to pay for the flight,” Keyes famous.
When you have journey insurance coverage, learn by means of all of the phrases relating to baggage.
“Journey insurance coverage insurance policies typically embody protection for any misplaced or lacking baggage,” Miller mentioned. “After you might have filed a declare with the airline, at all times double verify for any further claims that may be made in your insurance coverage.”
Hold all receipts.
Misplaced baggage not solely disrupts trip plans by stranding individuals with out the belongings they packed, however it additionally forces vacationers to spend cash on new issues in order that they don’t should repeatedly rewear their flight outfit or forego toothbrushing for days on finish.
The excellent news is you could be entitled to reimbursement ― as long as your purchases are “affordable.”
“Hold receipts for any day by day purchases you needed to make on account of the lacking bag,” Keyes suggested. “This will embody garments, toiletries or different day by day objects.”
File a grievance if needed.
“If the airline is dragging its ft on offering compensation for a lacking bag, don’t be afraid to file a grievance with the federal Division of Transportation,” Keyes mentioned.
The company’s “Air Journey Service Grievance or Remark Type” permits vacationers to flag dangerous airline service because it pertains to baggage, in addition to different points, like refund practices, discrimination, overbooking, household seating and extra.
You may additionally attempt getting the airline’s consideration by means of social media. Generally tweeting on the firm or sending a direct message yields actual outcomes.
As irritating as it’s to be separated out of your baggage, there are mechanisms in place to get it again to you.
When staffing shortages at London’s Heathrow Airport led to mass cancellations and a sea of stranded baggage, Delta Air Strains flew a airplane from London to Detroit filled with 1,000 items of bags and 0 passengers.
Journey consultants are additionally eager for the way forward for flying with checked baggage.
“This downside will doubtless persist all through the summer season after which enhance round Labor Day,” Keyes mentioned. “That’s as a result of journey demand is at its peak by means of mid-August and solely begins to taper off as soon as college begins once more in components of the nation. It’s unlikely we’ll be seeing practically as many misplaced baggage come autumn.”
Attempt to reduce the chance
“There are a couple of proactive steps you’ll be able to take to keep away from misplaced baggage within the first place ― setting apart the obvious recommendation of avoiding checking a bag should you can,” Keyes mentioned.
Contemplate the recommendation under to reduce your threat of winding up on trip or again house from a visit with out your issues:
Prioritize nonstop flights.
“Should you haven’t booked a flight but, prioritize nonstop flights or no less than flights that don’t have tight connections,” Keyes mentioned. “That switch between airplanes is the place within the system the place baggage are most definitely to get misplaced.”
Keep away from flying with a number of airways if potential as nicely. Generally it’s cheaper to map out a number of stops and transfers, however weigh the prices in comparison with the chance of dropping your baggage.
Get to the airport further early.
“On the airport, attempt to arrive early ― 90 minutes or extra earlier than your flight time, extra for worldwide flights ― to make sure your bag has loads of time to make it onboard,” Keyes mentioned.
Even should you aren’t checking a bag, attending to the airport early is essential lately, as there have been numerous reviews of safety strains that stretch out the door. Having that further buffer of time will reduce down on stress as you wait in lengthy, sluggish strains.
“When you have a GPS tracker, like Apple’s AirTags, throw one in so you’ll be able to preserve simple tabs on the place your bag is, particularly if it will get misplaced,” Keyes suggested.
Certainly, Airtags have turn into one among this summer season’s hottest journey equipment. However make sure you use this product just for its supposed goal ― monitoring objects, not individuals.
Take a photograph of your bag.
“Earlier than handing over your bag, open it up and take a fast image together with your digicam telephone,” Keyes mentioned. “That means, if the bag does find yourself getting misplaced, you’ll have photographic proof of any essential contents that you just’ll need to later declare compensation for.”
Take a photograph of the surface of the bag as nicely. Make sure that the tag the airline prints has the right airport code, title and frequent flyer quantity, and take an image of that. And don’t overlook to carry on to any receipts.
Pack any valuables in your carry-on.
“Valuables and requirements ought to be packed in your carry-on,” Miller mentioned. “Objects reminiscent of bodily money, treatment, electronics, jewellery and something essential to try to be carried with you always. Most airways don’t take duty for such objects and won’t concern reimbursements for them, so simply keep away from packing them into your checked baggage completely to be on the secure facet.”
Make sure that to pack toiletries and no less than one outfit and pair of underwear in your carry-on as nicely. It’s higher to be ready than find yourself carrying the identical garments once more in case your suitcase will get misplaced.