What to Do When You Lose Your Luggage

One thing that can certainly be stressful is retrieving your luggage at an airport. Unfortunately, you may one day have to live through the nightmare of the airline losing your luggage. Below are some steps you can take to deal with this situation.

  1. Report Your Missing Luggage at the Airport

    If you are not able to find your luggage on the carousel, the first step you should immediately take is reporting your missing luggage to the baggage area’s office. You will be asked to present your claim ticket and other information regarding your flight and personal information to the airline employee.

    You should be told information regarding the airline’s lost luggage policies. This should include information regarding reimbursement including funds to allow you to purchase necessities you need to finish your trip. You should also make sure that you are given a paper copy of a report as well as a contact number for the office. Thankfully, in most cases, the lost luggage is returned to the owner within 24 hours.

  2. File a Second Claim

    However, the airline may not quickly return your luggage. It may be declared lost. If this does happen, you need to file another claim report with the airline.

    If your luggage has indeed been lost, federal law requires that you be reimbursed up to $3,300 for each passenger. However, you are likely to receive less than that. The information from your claim report will be used to calculate the amount you will be reimbursed. This calculation may include depreciated values. If you bought souvenirs on your trip, you will likely be asked for receipts. This is why keeping receipts is important even if you don’t plan on coming back anytime soon.

    You could also be offered airline tickets instead of a cash reimbursement. Overall, this tends to be a cumbersome process that could take up to three months to complete.

  3. File a Complaint with the Department of Transportation

    In certain cases, an airline and its staff may be very unhelpful in regards to either returning your luggage or refunding your money. If this occurs, the airline is likely breaking federal law. One option you have is to file a complaint with the Department of Transportation.

    Your claim will be recorded in the D.O.T.’s database and reviewed by professionals employed by the government. If the airline appears to have broken federal law, this could mean very serious consequences. The D.O.T. will also forward the information regarding your issue to the airline in question. Chances are, they will take steps to address your situation to escape the very hefty fines the D.O.T. may impose.

  4. Go to Social Media

    If you are sick of dealing with incompetent airline employees, you could go to social media to make your case more public. Like most corporations, the major airlines do not want bad press detailing their terrible service. You may get the attention of people higher up in the company who will address your problem.

Last Updated: October 17, 2014