It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare. Your flight has landed and you’re waiting by the baggage claim…only your luggage doesn’t seem to be coming off the plane. You wait and you wait but still there’s nothing. Finally, after everyone else has picked up their bag and yours is nowhere to be seen, it’s official: your luggage is lost. We all dread this moment. Sadly, it happens to travellers every single day. So, what should you do if your luggage is lost?
As panic is steadily setting in, perhaps the most challenging thing to do is stay calm. If you start freaking out, though, you won’t do yourself any good. It certainly won’t return your luggage to you any faster! Reassure yourself that the majority of all lost luggage is returned safely. The Department of Transportation states that only 2% of all lost luggage is ever really lost or unclaimed. The odds are in your favour, so take a few slow, deep breaths. Just give yourself a minute or two to come to terms with the situation. Once you’ve done that, it’s time to find out where it is and how you can get it back.
Talk to The Airline
First thing is first – head over to your airline’s baggage counter. This is usually found near the baggage carousel. (You know, the one you’ve been waiting by for the last half hour.) You’ll need to speak to the airline representative in order to track down your bag. Find the baggage receipt that you were given when you checked your luggage and hand it to the representative. This will make it much easier to locate your belongings. From there, they will be able to determine whether your luggage is merely delayed, accidentally left behind or if it really is lost. What will happen next depends entirely on the location of your luggage. If your luggage is lost, you’ll need to fill out a report. You should always leave with a copy of that report in hand.
It’s important to note that when you speak to a baggage representative, be rational. It may be tempting to scream, shout, and carry on…but that won’t make your luggage magically appear. Remember that the airline is doing everything they can to help. If you yell they’ll be less likely to want to help you. Even though you’re stressed out and worried, always do your best to behave rationally.
Know What You Are Owed
As a passenger, you do have rights. You won’t just be left out in the cold. If your luggage has been declared delayed and is currently on route, the airline will be responsible for paying any reasonable expenses until your luggage is returned to you. (Think: clothes, toiletries, etc.) Be sure to keep your receipts so that you can be reimbursed when your luggage actually arrives. If your property has been declared lost, most airlines have a claim allowance so that you can re-purchase what you’ve lost. Always check the airlines policy online or on your actual ticket before you pack. That way, if something does happen, you won’t be in the red. Every airline has a different maximum claim allowance, so do your research.
No one wants to deal with lost luggage. Unfortunately, it does happen occasionally. If it happens to you, you can rest a little easier now, knowing what to expect.