When you are traveling losing your luggage is always a big concern. Everyone has heard horror stories of a friend who lost their luggage on a flight and ended up spending their whole vacation wearing the same jeans and tee shirt. The thought alone conjures such anxiety it has created an entire industry focused on carry-on only travel.
Carry-on only is great for solo travelers and short trips but family trips and extended holidays usually require a little more luggage. The reality is that lost luggage does not have to be super inconvenient. Following these simple steps will help you handle the situation as easily as possible, so you can get started on enjoying your trip.
As more and more bags are unloaded from the plane without yours being revealed, you may feel the searing hot rise of panic. However, it is very important to remain calm. When you are upset, you are more likely to forget important things or overlook important steps in retrieving your luggage.
By remaining calm and in control you mitigate the risk of upsetting the rest of your party (especially kids!) and allows you time and clarity to take the steps necessary to regain your luggage. Panicking can also be bad because it is more likely to lead to things like shouting at airline employees which will likely discourage them from assisting you. Keeping a cool head and remembering to be polite to the employees will be far more effective.
Make a Note of What You Lost
As soon as possible, try to make a list of every item in your luggage that was lost. This has two important functions. It allows you to start the process of making a claim for your lost bag, and it also lets you think about what you need to replace. Consider whether there are any special clothing items, toiletries, or medications that you will need to use right away.
If you’ve lost your luggage after your flight, one of the worst items that can be missing is extra cash or travelers’ cheques you may have secured for the trip. This loss of savings may put you at risk should you encounter an unexpected medical emergency on your vacation.
In situations like these, weigh all of your options like borrowing from friends or family, securing an online loan (learn more here), or using an international credit card. Remember to keep all your receipts to include with your claim.
File a Claim with the Airport
One of the most important things you need to do is make an official claim with the airport’s baggage claim office. Some companies require you to report lost baggage within a set amount of time, so you should never wait a couple of days and just hope it turns up.
Filing a prompt report lets the airport get started on looking for your bag, so they can hopefully catch it before it gets shipped somewhere far away. It also starts a paper trail that you can use for later reimbursement claims if desired. When filing the claim, make sure to ask about how you will be contacted, how the bag will be sent to you when it is found, and what you can do to check for updates.
Ask for Help from the Airline
The airport’s baggage claim office is a good place to start, but you will also need to call or visit the customer service department for the airline you flew on. Having multiple groups involved in the hunt for your bag is always good, and if you had a few connecting flights, the airline may know more about the location of your bag anyways.
You should also speak to them because they will be the ones responsible for reimbursing you from any expenses incurred by the lost luggage. They are required to reimburse you for up to $3,500 in expenses due to bags lost in the US and $1,600 in expenses for baggage lost on international flights.
Keep Receipts for All Expenditure
If you want to make sure the airline will eventually reimburse you for things like clothes, toiletries, and loans you took to replace the items lost, you need to keep receipts. Remember that they are only obligated to pay for reasonable replacements, so they will not reimburse you for something like a brand-new iPad you purchased just because your iPad charger was in your suitcase.
As long as you stick to replacements for items in your suitcase and extra travel or hotel expenses incurred from having to travel back and forth looking for your suitcase, you can expect reimbursement.
Pack Essentials in Your Carry On or Send Ahead of Time
Be sure to pack anything essential in your carry-on like medications, documents, baby formula and a change of clothes. If you lose your checked luggage, at least you know you have the most important things on your person. This one step alone can provide a lot of relief and help stave off anxiety if your luggage never shows up at the baggage claim.
Alternatively, if you are planning a longer trip consider packing and sending some of your items ahead of time to your destination. This way you not only do you have peace of mind that everything you need will be waiting for you but it greatly reduces your baggage count on travel days – this makes for a stress-free and much more enjoyable journey.
As you can see, losing your luggage does not have to be the end of the world. By just staying calm, following airline procedures, and keeping track of all lost items, you can easily find replacements and get reimbursed for extra expenses. You can see as well that making a few simple adjustments to how you travel can help to avoid missing luggage altogether.
Staying in the moment and not giving in to the stresses of travel allow you to focus on your vacation, family and yourself instead of worrying about lost belongings.