What to do when your baggage goes missing
Travel Advice: The first thing to do is report it at the airport and make sure you keep labels
It is a sinking feeling when your baggage does not arrive at your destination.
It is a sinking feeling when your baggage does not arrive at your destination. There are international laws in existence that provide a world-wide system of standards and rules of the carriage of baggage and people called the Montreal Convention.
First thing to do is fill in a Property Irregularity Report at the customer services desk in the airport before you leave, if possible. You will receive a copy of the report and a reference number. Keep your boarding card and the baggage label/s you received when you checked in.
Most baggage will turn up within the first few days and will be delivered to you, depending on where you are. Baggage is considered lost after 21 days and you can claim compensation of up to a standard amount of around €1,300 for your lost items, and the suitcase, in Europe. Compensation in the US is higher at around $3,300 (€2,741). All claims have to be in writing.
When claiming from an airline, in your letter say you are claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention, a treaty that governs carriage by air.
Include all the details of your flight, what happened to your luggage, how much money you are asking for, a detailed description of what was lost or damaged, a list of what you had to buy and copies of all documents and receipts.
If the value of the items exceeds that amount, you have to negotiate with the airline. They will require receipts and the age of the items lost.
Compensation will be on a depreciated value. It is important to have travel insurance, especially if you are travelling with valuable items.
If your suitcase is damaged while in transit you can claim for a repair or replacement. You need to report the damage as soon as you can, preferably in the airport. Take photographs of the damage.