Problems Encountered with Luggage While Travelling and How to Deal
Most people associate travelling with fun and good experiences. Sometimes our travelling can be ruined when we arrive at our destination and realize that our luggage is missing. It can even be more overwhelming when your luggage is lost. Worrying about the whereabouts of your luggage is the worst feeling while travelling to a new city. If the worst happens and you actually lose your luggage, you might end up spending more than you actually planned to buy extra clothes and toiletries to cover your trip.
The good news is that the US Department of Transportation came up with new recommendations about luggage fees and checked bags, proposing that passengers who do not arrive with their luggage should get a refund for checked luggage. That means the airline will give you money to purchase items as you wait for your luggage. However, before your luggage is declared lost, your airline will take the responsibility to electronically track it. This is achieved through the electronic tag attached to your luggage. In case the electronic tag is damaged and your luggage cannot be traced, you will get compensation for your lost luggage.
How to deal with lost luggage
There are various things you can do to prevent your luggage getting lost or get a refund when it get lost. For example, it is advisable you take a picture of your luggage before your flight just in case it ends up getting lost with similar ones. This will give you a clear picture of your luggage when describing it to the airline authorities. Other things you can do include the following:
Take one flight
Most people who end up losing their luggage do so as a result of connecting flights. So, what happens when you arrive at your destination and find that your luggage is missing? If your last airline cannot trace your luggage, they will pass the responsibility to other airlines you used. Although you will likely get compensated, it can be frustrating to wait for feedback from different airlines. Hence, it is advisable you take one nonstop flight to your destination. This reduces the risk of losing your luggage as a result delays in one of your flights.
Make a report
Once you realize that your luggage is missing after arriving at the airport, you should make a report immediately. Some people make the mistake of leaving the airport and making a call to the airline after reaching home. No matter what time it is, you should not leave the airport without making a report to the airline. You should go to the luggage claim office and fill out a missing luggage claim form. Before you leave the office, make sure you get a copy of that form. If you don’t find anyone at the office, look for another airline staff and report that your luggage is missing.
Know which airline to contact
If you used multiple airlines during your flight, it can be confusing to know which airline to contact in case your luggage goes missing. The airline you are supposed to contact when your luggage is lost is the one which you used last to your final destination. Therefore, you should send all your queries regarding your missing luggage to that airline. Most of the time it will take them a few days to locate your missing luggage. However, if your luggage is lost, you will need to wait up to two weeks before it is made official by the airline.
Compensation for lost luggage
In case you lost your luggage, the US Department of Transportation states that the maximum compensation you can get on US domestic flights. However, lost checked bags during international flights have varying rates of compensation depending on the airline you used. If you paid a fee for your lost checked luggage, the airline will refund you the fee. For you to get a compensation for your lost luggage, you will need to produce receipts as proof of the valuables you had in your lost bag. It is important you remember that you will not be reimbursed the full amount of your claim. According to DOT, you will be reimbursed for the depreciated value of your lost items.
How to deal with delayed luggage
Sometimes the luggage you think is lost might be actually delayed. In this case, avoid panicking since most airlines use advanced tracking system and you can get your luggage within hours. Most of the time your luggage might be on another flight and you will get it after a few hours. If it is diverted to the wrong airport, you could get it after a few days. Here are a few things you can do in case your luggage is delayed.
Report the matter immediately
Avoid the common mistake of leaving the airport without reporting the delayed luggage to the authority. Don't wait to get home so that you can call your airline, do it immediately. Therefore, file your claim immediately at the luggage claim area of the airline. You should give relevant details including your home or hotel address, flight number, date of flight and the phone number they will use to contact you. In addition, make sure you get a copy of your report and the attendant phone number so that you can follow up the matter. If your luggage is found, you will not need to go to the airport. The airline will bring the luggage to you using the address you gave them.
Compensation for delayed luggage
As you wait for your delayed luggage, you are supposed to get a reasonable compensation for the time you don't have your bag. The airline might give you payment to cover for emergency items such as toiletries and clothes. On the other hand, the airline might decide to give you money for each day of the delay up to a set maximum days. If your airline does not make an upfront payment for your delayed luggage, it may give you money for expenses incurred when you did not have your luggage. Therefore, it is important you keep your receipts with you as a proof of your expenditure.