Guide To Lost Luggage


Nobody likes to think of it, but there are two types of travelers.  Those who’s luggage has been lost, and those who will have an airline loose their luggage in the future.  Here is what you should do to ensure that you never loose money when your an airline looses your bag. If you take the right steps ahead of time, you will probably make money from lost suitcases.

Before Traveling

Every time you luggage, keep a receipt. Every time you clothing, save the receipt.  Clothing is about the only thing that an airline will actually compensate you for, although there are exceptions such as furs.  When the time comes to fill out a claim form, you will then submit receipts for all of your missing clothing.

Packing Tips

Be familiar with airline’s rules regarding compensation for lost or damaged luggage.  The rules exclude all sorts of things from compensation including electronics and pretty much anything more valuable than clothing. For heaven’s sake, never pack anything valuable or unique.  Never pack medications, car keys, passports, or tickets.

Another tip is to plan for the possibility of the airline loosing your bag.  Pack in your carry on everything you need for a day or two at your destination. Pack under the assumption that you bag will be lost, and carry on not just your valuables, but any necessary items that will be difficult or time consuming to replace at your destination.  Feel free to check items that are easily obtained wherever you are going.

I have always been a proponent of carrying inexpensive bags. I find that generic bags purchased from discount stores such as Ross, TJ Maxx, and Tuesday Morning can last for years. Ultimately the airline will loose or damage the bags, resulting in your reimbursement for their cost.

When Your Bag Is Lost

We all know the feeling of seeing the last bag come off the carousel and watching it shut down. The most important thing to do is to make sure you file a claim in writing at the airport. Most airlines require that a claim be submitted for any loss or damage within 24 hours, but in reality, once you leave the airport, all bets are off.

The worst case scenario is when you arrive on the last flight of the night.  If that flight is delayed, it is possible that the baggage office will be closed. In that case, you must call the airline and try to file a claim over the phone.  At the very least, you should ask the airline representative to make a notation in your record.  You should also record the name of the person you spoke with.  The next day, you will then have to return to the airport.  At best, you will retrieve your bag, but at worst you will have to fill out the claim form to comply with the 24 hour rule.


While it might seem more likely that an airline will loose your bags when you have a complicated itinerary, I have not found that to be the case.  In fact, it has been my experience that may bags have been lost or delayed more often on non-stop flights.  By planning ahead, packing smart, and making a timely claim, you can ensure that lost bags are an inconvenience, not a major catastrophe.

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