How Do I Claim Compensation for Lost Luggage?


Having issues with your luggage at an airport is not only super stressful but can easily ruin your trip. Some of these issues include luggage damage, delays, and losing your luggage.

It is a worst-case scenario but does happen to a few. Dealing with these issues can become overwhelming due to their severity.

Airline carriers are liable for all luggage once you check them in. When an airline loses, delays, or damages your luggage it is part of their responsibility to reimburse you for your luggage. Airline carriers are required to cover any fees they charged you which include the bag check-in fee.

Losing your luggage can be a difficult process, especially since airline carriers have different contracts and policies it is hard to keep up with what you can and cannot do. This is the same for delayed and damaged luggage.

How Do I Claim Compensation for Lost Luggage?

When you notice your luggage is lost, go to the baggage claim desk and tell them your airline and flight number. If there is no one near the baggage claim desk, contact your airline immediately and explain your problem, and file a claim to get your compensation.

This can be either lost, damaged, or delayed. Follow up on the status of your claim, and ask the airline for reimbursement on fees and compensation.

When damage to a passenger’s baggage and/or its contents occurs while the bag is within the airline’s control during transit, the airline is responsible for repairing or reimbursing the passenger.

Once an airline concludes that your luggage has been lost, it is responsible for compensating you for the contents of your bag, subject to depreciation and liability restrictions.

Airlines are also required to repay any money you paid for the lost bag’s transportation.

What to Do When Your Luggage Is Lost

First, you must visit the baggage claim office and file a missing report with the department. Then fill out the PIR form with relevant information about the items and bag. You should also inform your airline about the mishap before exiting the airport. 

Whether it comes to determining when baggage is considered lost, different airlines may have varying policies. Most airlines will declare baggage lost between five and fourteen days following the flight, though this varies by the airline carrier.

If the airline’s app allows it, you might also check the status of your baggage ahead of time. There’s a chance your stuff is already on its way. However, if this is not the case, proceed to the following step.

Airline carriers may differ, but the process of reporting luggage as missing is the same across the board.

1. Make sure to contact the airline and report your luggage as missing

Go to your airline’s desk and report your luggage as missing. Use the baggage claim number at the top of your receipt to help the airline worker locate and track your bag.

2. Give the airline the address of where you are staying

It is best to give them all the contact information and address of your hotel/home. This is beneficial and helps them deliver the baggage directly to you.  

3. Make sure to submit a claim after 24 hours to the airline

Make sure to ask the airline when their cut-off date is to claim after your baggage has been declared lost. It is best to make a claim as soon as it has been declared so you are eligible for compensation.

4. Keep receipts

 It’s possible that the misplaced suitcase has all the necessary items for the trip. As a result, you may be forced to purchase identical products while you wait for the bags to be found.

It is best to keep any receipts of any incidental expenses so the airline will be able to reimburse you.

You should also ask for compensation for checked luggage costs and any other fees you had to pay on the trip.

It is important to note that if an airline doesn’t help you, you can file a report to DOT, and they will. The DOT, also known as the Department of Transportation, could take enforcement action against an airline if it refuses to consider luggage lost after it has been missing for an unacceptable amount of time.

The Department of Transportation has a mission to help others make traveling easy.

They ensure that America has the world’s safest, most efficient, and modern transportation system, which promotes our economic productivity and worldwide competitiveness while also improving the quality of life in rural and urban regions.

What to Do If Your Luggage Is Damaged

First, you must visit the arrivals desk and report the airport of the damage to file a claim. You will have 24 hours for filing a claim for damaged luggage on domestic flights. Meanwhile, you will have sevens to file a claim on international trips.

Since airlines are liable for locating checked bags that do not arrive at their destination, they all use tracking technology to try to figure out where the baggage is. Passengers should contact their airline as soon as possible to register a luggage claim.

Airlines are not liable for damage to the bag that occurred before its arrival or damage caused by incorrect packing.

Some airlines now provide passengers with details on the position of their baggage via applications that are available to cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices. If this technology is accessible, it may be beneficial to utilize it to locate your luggage.

After making a claim and through the baggage location process, passengers should keep in touch with the airline.

1. File a claim at the airline counter

Using your baggage reference number located on your receipt and give it to the airline workers. This will help them in tracking and locating your luggage.

2. Continue to follow up on your claim

Keep following up, call the airline and ask for updates. This is beneficial and will help you receive compensation.

Tip: It is recommended to take pictures of your luggage before your flight and after. This makes receiving compensation easier as there is proof of the damage that occurred.

Make sure to read carriage contracts as they all differ across different airlines. Some may have more regulations than others.

Here are a few regulations regarding damaged baggage claims:

Certain kinds of commodities are frequently excluded from airline responsibility (for example fragile items, electronics, cash, perishable items, other valuables, etc.). These exclusions are usually spelled out in the airline’s carriage contracts.

Airlines are not compelled to pay passengers for products they have excluded from their contracts of carriage when traveling within the United States.

What to Do If Your Luggage Is Delayed

The top thing you must do is visit the claim office and inform the authorities of the delay. A representative will give you a PIR form that you must fill out. You should also request an overnight kit for free essential items.

Baggage processes at airports may be extremely complicated and waiting 30 or even 45 minutes for bags is not only typical but anticipated.

This delay is normal, and luggage can arrive in waves from a single plane, so just because it didn’t arrive immediately away doesn’t mean it’s gone missing, you should check if it came on an earlier flight.

If you have waited more than 45 minutes for your baggage and do not see it, it is best to file a claim.

1. File a claim at the airline counter

Find the baggage center (usually near the baggage area) and clearly state that your bag is not at the airport yet.

2. Present the counter with the baggage number.

You will need to file a property irregularity report also known as a (PIR). It is best to have your baggage number, and contact information ready as this information is needed to properly fill out a PIR. You can also show them any pictures of the luggage if you took any for reference on their behalf.

3. Ask for an allowance

You may ask for a reimbursement for reasonable expenses such as replacement clothing and other costs. Depending on if your airline offers this service, you might get an allowance in the form of cash or vouchers for local stores.

4. Ask for an overnight bag.

Some airlines offer overnight bags, which include essentials such as shampoo, razors, soap, and some clothes. It is best to ask since some airlines have it and others do not.

According to transportation.gov, under the maximum liability limits, airlines must reimburse passengers for reasonable, verifiable, and actual incidental expenses incurred while their luggage is delayed.

Airlines are not permitted to set a daily sum for interim expenses at their discretion. For example, an airline cannot establish a policy of only reimbursing a passenger up to $50 every day that they are delayed.

How Much Compensation Can I Get for My Lost Luggages?

The minimum an airline will offer in compensation is $1,500 to $1,800, depending on the company. However, the maximum limit for all American airlines is $3,500 for each passenger with lost luggage.

According to a new survey by the passenger rights organization AirHelp, 87 percent of travelers do not seek airline reimbursement for missing luggage, and 90 percent of customers are unaware of their airline rights. This adds up to a startling $6 billion in unclaimed compensation by travelers.

Depending on how much your items are in total it can range from $1,500-$3,500.

All airlines are different and offer different reimbursement rates. For example, the maximum an American airline can give you for lost baggage is up to $3,500.

Delta, American Airlines, and United all have policies that state you are eligible for compensation after filing a report.

If You Don’t Agree with the Compensation Amount

All airlines will allow you to appeal for your claim if you are not satisfied with the compensation amount. However, this only applies if the original payment you received was less than $3,500. If not, you are ineligible to file an appeal. 

If you do not agree with the compensation amount, you may appeal your claim. On average airlines reimburse you between $1,500-$3,500.

Unfortunately, you cannot appeal on any amount above $3,500, as it is the maximum an airline can reimburse you in compliance with American travel laws. 

How to Appeal Your Compensation Amount

To file an appeal, you will have to contact the transportation department of your airline. After calling them, you have to file another report to make an appeal for the compensation amount.

Appealing your compensation requires you to make another claim with the airline. Make sure to keep a copy of all receipts and have proof of what was inside your luggage. It is best to make sure you have the total worth of your claim.

Disputing the compensation amount will be difficult as airlines will be fair, in any case, that an airline is not, contact DOT (Department of Transportation) and file an additional report with them.

Can You Sue Your Airline for Lost Luggage?

Yes, you can sue an airline for lost luggage, but it must be within reason. Read each airline carrier’s contract as some will have strict rules and regulations regarding receiving compensation over lost/damaged/delayed luggage.

If you feel there was a violation in the airline carriers’ contract and with the service they provided you, you can always hire an attorney. Some questions to keep in mind as you ask your attorney are:

  • What can I do to show what was in my misplaced luggage and how much it was worth?
  • Is traveler’s insurance or other luggage insurance tax deductible? Is it necessary for me to declare insurance payments on my tax return?
  • Is the airline carriers’ contract in compliance with the service they provided you?

What You Can Do to Avoid Lost Luggage in the Future

GPS trackers have expanded quite vastly and now can track your luggage. This is the best way to help accurately locate your luggage anywhere you go without the hassle of an airline carrier report/claim. Listed here are three of the best and top-rated luggage trackers:

  •  TRAKDOT LUGGAGE TRACKER – The Trakdot creates ground-breaking products that enable individuals to keep track of the people and things they care about.

Trakdot delivers creative solutions that fulfill worldwide demand by providing cutting-edge patent-protected technology at a fantastic value.

The world’s first luggage monitoring solution with global location reporting always keeps you in touch with your goods.

  • LUG LOC TRACKER– Through a user-friendly smartphone app, the tracker allows you to locate your belongings while traveling.

Simply place the device lug loc luggage and bag tracking inside your bag, and the mobile app will show you the mapping location of your bag in real-time. 

Whether you’re traveling for work, pleasure, or to transport valuables. It is travel-ready and can fit in any size bag.

  • TILE SLIME MATE- Tile Slim is the simplest, fastest, and most dependable way to locate your wallet, phone, and other valuables.

Tile Slim is as thin as two credit cards and can be slid, tucked, or attached to anything you want.  

It can be attached to a notebook, laptop, or tablet. It can also be put inside a small pocket, such as a jacket pocket or a wallet.

They also provide an app that helps you locate your device. The tile slime mate will send signals out to any device you have it linked to and make a noise, regardless of if your device is on silent or not.

What You Need to Do When Your Luggage is Lost

The first thing to do when you notice your luggage is lost is to file a claim at the baggage claim desk. It is likely located near the baggage carousel. If the baggage claim desk staff is absent, contact your airline immediately and report lost luggage.

Your airline will process the claim and start the investigation. When the airline finishes the investigation and could not find your luggage, you will be compensated by reimbursement from your airline.

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