This post will give you in-depth guidance on how to claim for delayed baggage, whether it ends up lost or simply comes late, and how to make sure you get the compensation you may be due. All the necessary information can also be found through our web app.
1. Contact a Baggage Claim Desk
As soon as you notice your baggage is missing, contact the Baggage Claim Desk, which is located within the airport (usually near the baggage carousels) and inform the staff about the situation. If there is no desk around, get in touch with the airline whose aircraft you were on. Always treat the staff with respect – this your best hope for the moment, so it’s better to get along well.
2. File your delayed baggage claim immediately
For a delayed baggage claim, staff will usually advise you to file your claim through a property irregularity report (PIR). This an official document that you must fill in before leaving the airport.
You can speed up the paperwork if you have the following information to hand:
- reservation number (found on your flight ticket)
- baggage tag number (usually attached to your boarding pass at check-in)
- description of your baggage (manufacturer, size, color)
- address where you will be staying
- contact details
Once the property irregularity report is completed, you’ll receive a filing number and a copy of the report. Don’t lose this: you will need it for tracking your baggage afterward. Make sure you also note down telephone number for the baggage desk.
3. Request an overnight kit
You probably don’t need the kit if your baggage is lost on your way home. Somehow, however, it always seems to happen when you’re abroad. If that happens, you should ask for an overnight kit. Almost every airline has a kit ready for this kind of scenario but only a few of them provide it automatically, so you should always ask. The kit isn’t anything special but it will definitely help in a pinch. It usually contains shampoo, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a razor and shaving cream. You may also find a deodorant, phone card, nylon stockings, aftershave and an XXL t-shirt you can sleep in.
4. Ask for an allowance for reasonable expenses
You can request an allowance for reasonable expenses to cover replacement clothes and other expenses. As with the overnight kit, airlines don’t usually offer the allowance so make sure you ask them.
If you’re lucky, you might get an allowance in the form of cash, or vouchers for local shops. Usually, the staff will tell you a figure that the airline will refund you for – don’t forget to keep all receipts for these expenses, as you’ll need them to claim the refund. Simply ask the staff politely and they should be able to tell you how much the airline is willing to cover.
We asked our friends at The Points Guy – the air travel blog that teaches you how to maximize frequent flyer miles and credit cards to work for you – and they gave us the following opinions on how to cover your additional expenses for delayed baggage:
With higher fees to deter people from checking bags – and better tracking technology – airlines still manage to lose suitcases. Here, your credit card may come in handy as many credit cards offer all kinds of protection if you use them to pay for travel. This could range from lost luggage to car rental insurance and, in the case of lost or delayed luggage, they will reimburse your expenses while you await your bag. Review the terms of your credit cards to see which ones will protect you best when things go wrong.
5. Check the status, wait and be patient
If you’ve completed the paperwork, asked for an overnight kit and for reasonable expenses to be covered, you are free to leave the airport. For now, there’s not you can do except waiting for your baggage and hoping it’ll be found soon. Airlines usually expect the baggage to appear on their next flight, so wait for at least 24 hours. If the airline’s staff still haven’t got back to you, call the number you got at the baggage claim desk and if there’s been any progress.
You can also track the progress of your file online, using the World Tracer Tool. This lets you check the current status of your delayed baggage and modify delivery and contact information, which comes in very useful once you change accommodation.
Usually, it won’t take more than a few days before you’re reunited with your baggage – just hope it doesn’t happen at the end of your stay.
6. Claim your rights formally
You must claim your rights formally, in the form of a written complaint, in order to request a payment for your additional expenses, up to EUR 1,250,-, This is stated by the Montreal Convention. Airlines won’t give you anything until you ask them. In the case of delayed baggage, the complaint must be made at the latest within 21 days of the date the baggage was meant to arrive.
To claim for delayed or lost baggage, contact us directly through our web app and we can process all the paperwork for you. We operate on a no win no fee basis, so we only charge a fee if your claim is successful.
There is a possibility that your baggage won’t be delivered. If the delivery is delayed by more than 21 days, your baggage is considered lost. Lost baggage will be covered in a future post – sign up to our newsletter and we’ll keep you posted.
Hopefully, you have found this guide useful. It would be great to hear from you in the comments – how many times have you had your bags delayed? What’s your opinion of airlines’ customer service? What did you get in your overnight kit? Let us know!