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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

You are waiting at the baggage carousel and it seems the same three suitcases are passing you again and again. The remaining passengers pick up their baggage and you’re the only one left but there are no suitcases to claim. Face it, your luggage has been lost. So, now what?

For some traveller’s it is a nightmare come true, losing their luggage. In most cases it happens during short stopovers at busy airports, there isn’t enough time to transfer your suitcases from your first flight to your second, especially if one has been delayed. Perhaps it didn’t even make on the plane in the first place or it fell into another pile and headed in the wrong direction. Whatever happens, its important to stay calm and report it immediately to the lost luggage counter of the airline you flew with.

Around 98% of all lost luggage is returned to its owners, so don’t panic. Usually luggage is transported on the next scheduled flight if it missed the transfer or it could take a few days if it was sent to the wrong airport. Airlines typically return it directly to your hotel or your home and will reimburse you for any inconveniences or unexpected expenses, so keep your receipts. The maximum liability of an airline is £800 per passenger according to the Montreal Convention.

Prevention and precaution, how to avoid lost luggage:

  • When packing your carry-on suitcase include a change of clothes, just in case. This way you won’t be left with nothing if your luggage is delayed.
  • Put name tags on the outside and inside of each bag, tie a brightly coloured ribbon on a handle to help identify it.
  • Avoid late check-ins or flights with short stopovers, the two most common conditions for lost luggage.
  • Pack your valuables including money, jewellery, electronics, etc. in your carry-on luggage. Airlines are not liable for these types of items if your luggage is lost. Also never pack your itinerary or other important travel documents in your checked luggage.
  • Report immediately to the airline lost luggage kiosk if you cannot find your luggage on the carousel. Leave your contact details and a description of your suitcase when filling out the appropriate forms.
  • You will also be asked for a list of contents, so make one while you’re packing. If you bring gifts or you’ve bought items specifically for the trip, keep the receipts with you to help determine the value of your belongings if you need to make a claim.

The best advice is to travel with insurance, that way you’re covered no matter what happens. Do you have any luggage horror stories? Dish them out in our comment section! Lost luggage advice? Share it below! If you’re getting ready to travel and you need some packing tips and tricks, check out our blog article Packing: how to and how much?.

Image source: B*2 / flickr creative commons

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