For sure, it is an awful experience when a certain airline loses your luggage, and it does happen to hundreds of passengers every single day. Thankfully, the US Department of Transportation has begun laying down the law on what should be done when you arrive somewhere and you lost your luggage. Unluckily, this still differ wildly, which depends on each airline and every specific situation. In order to help you to navigate these tricky waters, we have compiled everything that you need to know for when your luggage is lost.
In case your luggage is delayed, report it immediately
Most lost luggage is only delayed, since airlines have increasingly complex systems of tracking them down, and can commonly do so within just a few hours. Chances are that your bags simply get on the wrong flight. But, you still want paper trail. Even if the airline personnel has found your luggage and say that it is on the next light, you can ask them to file a report. For instance, you can give them your luggage claim tags, just be sure to get a copy of the report. In addition you need to make sure to get a phone number so you can pester somebody just in case. The pro tip is to take a photo of your luggage before you get on board. That will be all the more effective than will describing your suitcase.
Check the back of your flight ticket to get optimum claims
Some airlines have maximum claim that they will allow, yet you can commonly find that on the back of your flight ticket. This means that if they offer a maximum claim of $200, it is likely that you want to keep your brand new iPhone carry-on, or purchase “excess valuation” for lost luggage.
Be ready to negotiate
Commonly you are entitled to getting back reasonable expenses which are incurred while luggage-less, although what you ponder reasonable may not be in line what the airline ponders reasonable when dealing with lost luggage. This is when you will need to flex your negotiation tenseness and muscles. Back in the day, airlines will have you begging for sufficient cash to buy yourself toothbrush, yet since the DOTs 2009 rule, domestic airlines cannot make up ambiguous figures anymore to pawn you off with, yet need to cover “all reasonable, verifiable, and actual expenditures pertinent to baggage loss, delay, or manage”. As such you need to keep your receipts. These days, the per-passenger maximum is $3,400 for domestic flight. Realistically speaking, you will only gain that amount if it is your wedding day and they lost your dress (but why did you carry that on?) yet in theory, it means that if you need more than, for instance, $50 they’re offering you, you can presumably seek out more by asking and citing the DOTs decree.
For sure it can take airlines anywhere from only a few hours to one month to find your lost luggage, and another 4 weeks to 3 months, seriously!, to reimburse you. In certain cases, they will offer you travel vouchers which are worth more than the cash that they owe you.