Where's my luggage?

It seems incomprehensible that in today’s world of computers and tracking systems that thousands of pieces of luggage still go missing daily. 

I suppose when you compare that figure to the millions of bags that do transport correctly it’s something of an acceptable risk. Sadly, the more you travel, the more likely you must deal with this eventuality.

So what do you do when you realize that your luggage is just not going to show up on that carousel? 

First thing is find the lost luggage counter for the airline you arrived on. 

Even if you left on one airline and transited to another, it’s the last airline that assumes responsibility for the delay or loss. You won’t be the only one at that counter as luggage rarely goes missing on an individual basis.

The claims agent will have you fill out a form describing your bag and its contents and will ask to see your luggage tag. 

Generally, they can usually enter that tracking number into the system and confidently tell you exactly where your bag is and when you can expect to receive it. 

Compensation for delay of delivery depends on whether you are in destination or arriving back to your home base. 

When arriving home, the best to expect is free delivery to your address of choice once the bag arrives. If in destination, the rule of thumb for more than a four-hour delay is $120 for essential toiletries. 

This can vary depending on situation. Be sure to get clarification from the claims agent before you spend money on new business attire. Most airlines have an online tracking system which allows you to gauge when to expect delivery.

After you have made your claim, be sure to also check with your credit card carrier. Many cards these days include baggage loss and delay coverages. That four-hour delay window can allow for up to $400 in new attire as well as cover the cost of sport rental equipment for those of you on a ski or golf trip. 

As the commercial says …. “know what’s in your wallet”. No point in paying those annual fees if you don’t know what they’re for.

If your luggage is eventually deemed irretrievably “lost,” the maximum compensation is usually $1,500 per piece. This value would be substantiated by a detailed inventory. In cases where the airline has forced you to check what you thought was to be a carry-on bag with valuables then you could likely argue a higher claim amount but only if at that time you declared and recorded the value.

Now, there’s no way to guarantee that the airline won’t lose your bags, but you can do things to make them easier to find. 

First and foremost, consider buying something other than black luggage. Let’s face it, the fuchsia pink with black polka dots will be much more recognizable. Invest in permanent colourful luggage ID tags and be sure that they have your current address information on them. 

Remove all old airline baggage stickers to avoid confusing the tracking system. 

Rule of thumb:

  • Never check something you can’t replace or live without. Medications, identification such as passports or visas, computer or camera equipment as well as their power sources should always be carry on items. 


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About the Author

Joy has long been a believer in the art of travel: the belief that a vacation is something to be anticipated savored and then long remembered as one of life’s great adventures. 
Website: thejoyoftravel.ca

You can contact Joy at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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