It's a tough spot when you are anxiously watching the baggage carrousel as everyone else from your long flight is jostling for the best view. You wait and don’t see your luggage. Finally you start worrying as your are one of the last people waiting and still no bag. Don’t panic!
Airlines typically have tracking in place for luggage and having the claim ticket is an important piece. If your bags are on the next flight they can catch up to you easily. If they are not located, then you need to be able to provide identification of your luggage. Keeping photos and an inventory of the contents is a first step. At the airport file a claim and be sure to give your contact information, hotel or home address so you can be reached.
Before you leave the airport, make sure you know how to followup with the airline so you can respond if you don’t hear from them. Airlines will often reimburse you for items you may need immediately from your lost baggage. On US flights airlines have a maximum baggage liability of $3,300 per person. International travel varies. If your bag is lost, you will need to provide proof of lost items. Most airlines ask for receipts and documentation. Be sure to file a claim and keep copies for yourself of anything you turn into the airlines.
If you get your luggage, check for tampering or any mishandling and alert the airline. Take an immediate inventory of your items. Just because you have gotten your luggage does not mean you don’t have a claim.
Tips to Prevent Lost Bags
Put an easily identifiable mark or ribbon on your bag. Be sure to have luggage tags AND place a luggage tag inside the bag.
Put all important items in your carry-on. Don’t risk losing medication or valuable items by placing them in checked bags.
Make sure that the gate agent places baggage stickers on all bags. Take a picture of the printed luggage tag with the My Bag? App.
Use the app to log an inventory of the items in your bag.
Use twitter to send messages to the airline if you don’t get the response you are expecting.
Technology can help as well. If you have an iPhone download a free app to identify your luggage and its contents. We like My Bag? available in the iTunes App store: https://itunes.apple.com/
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