Lost Baggage – How to Deal With It

It is bad enough to have a checked baggage delayed; a lost one is somewhat unthinkable. So, in case this situation happens to you, what are your best options? This was especially critical as we recently complete a photography trip Grand Canyon where we lost our camera, not fun.
Here are the following steps in reporting lost baggage:

  • If you discovered that your baggage is not among those in the carousel, make a claim immediately. This is most obvious thing to do. Do not, for whatever reason, leave the airport without reporting your missing baggage. Immediately head to the airline baggage window where the clerk on duty should be able to help you out in tracking down your missing baggage.
  • Be sure to provide a very specific description of your bag; it would be best if you can show a picture. You will be given a report form to fill out, make sure that you provide all the necessary information needed and as accurately as you can. Before submitting the form back to the clerk, make sure that you have your own copy.
  • There may be times when there is no one on duty and your next move is to find another airline employee. If there is no one from the airlines that can offer any assistance, your best option is to call the airline and discuss your problem. Make sure to take note of the customer assistant who took your call.
  • Once you are done reporting your missing baggage, you should inquire about the time frame on when your baggage could be delivered to you; you may not receive an accurate time frame though.
  • Inquire about your rights in case the baggage will be declared as lost. You need to know the compensations that are due you.
  • If your baggage has finally been reported as irretrievably lost, there is nothing else you can do but to discuss your options with your airline. One thing is for sure, you are entitled to some compensations and the amount will depend whether you were on a domestic or international flight.

If there are valuables on the lost baggage, do not expect to be compensated for that. You have to understand that airlines have strict regulations about putting valuables on check-in baggage; they simply do not allow that. If you have to take valuables with you, keep them on you hand-carry bag.

Usually, you will be asked to make an itemized list of all the contents of your missing baggage. Be very accurate and honest about it. Also include the estimated value of the suitcase itself.
Claims for a missing baggage and a lost one are two different circumstance and you have to understand that. If your first report was declared missing, then you can also be given compensation until your baggage is found. If, on your first report, you were immediately told that your baggage is lost, then you have to go through the whole process of claiming your lost baggage compensation. If you were told that your baggage was missing and then after a month it was declared lost, then you need to make another claim.

The best you can do in cases like this is to make an immediate report. Do not wait for any miracles. If your baggage is merely delayed then you are still lucky. But if it is really lost then you have to exercise your rights.