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Your flight angels

Jakub Ladra, CEO

Have you ever experienced a situation when you arrived to your final destination and find yourself staring at an empty baggage carousel and hoping there is still one last baggage coming? Well, in a better case, your baggage is delayed. The worst case, the baggage is completely lost and you’ll never see it again. This post will give you an in-depth guidance on how to handle such situation and how to get your delayed baggage compensation so there won’t be a space for a panic or a confusion anymore. All necessary information can be also found within our web app

According to the Air Travel Consumer Report issued by U.S. Department of Transportation, all U.S. based airlines reported almost two million mishandled baggage reports in total in 2013. The number isn’t so high in connection with a total amount of enplaned passengers but it’s always better to be prepared than to try to find the information at the last minute.

Fortunately, the baggage claim is the most universal feature of our web app since it is based on the Montreal Convention that was signed by 104 countries so it is applicable almost worldwide. Besides of this convention, there exists also the Warsaw Convention which is used mainly for flights out of Russia and will be implemented into the app soon (UPDATE: The Warsaw Convention is already implemented in our app).

1. Contact a Baggage Claim Desk

Once you notice your baggage is missing, contact the Baggage Claim Desk, which is located somewhere at the airport (usually close to baggage carousels) and inform the stuff about the situation. If there is no such desk around, get in touch with the airline whose aircraft you were actually on. Stay calm and try to talk to the staff politely – I know, you are annoyed to death but the person you are talking to is your only one contact point at the moment so it’s better to get along well with him.

2. File your claim immediately

The staff will advise you to file your claim through a property irregularity report (PIR). The property irregularity report is an official document that you must fill before leaving the airport. This paperwork will be highly expedited if you have following information in hand:

  • reservation number (can be found on your flight ticket)
  • baggage tag number (the tag is usually attached to your boarding pass at baggage check-in)
  • details of your baggage (manufacturer, size, color)
  • address of location where you will be staying
  • telephone number where you will be accessible

Once the property irregularity report is completed, you’ll receive a file number and a copy of the report. Don’t lose it as you will need it for tracking of your baggage afterwards.

3. Request an overnight kit

Well, you don’t need the kit if you are missing your baggage on your way home. However if it happens once you are abroad (I don’t know why but it happens the most frequently), you should ask for the overnight kit. Almost every airline has the kit ready but only a few of them provide it automatically. So you should ask in every case. The kit isn’t any special but it usually contains shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush and a razor with a shaving cream. Sometimes you can find there a deodorant, phone card, nylon stockings, after shave and XXL t-shirt you can sleep in too.

4. Ask for an allowance for reasonable expenses

You can try to request the allowance for reasonable expenses. There is the same situation as with the overnight kit – airlines don’t usually give the allowance naturally so make sure you ask them. If you are a lucky one you can receive the allowance in form of cash or vouchers which can be used in a local shop. However, in most cases, you will be advised by the staff about a total amount that you can spend on your own and the airline will refund your expenses afterwards – don’t forget to keep all receipts for these expenses, it’ll be your proof of evidence later on. Just ask them and you’ll see what the airline is willing to cover.

We asked our friends from The Points Guy – the air travel blog that teaches you how to maximize frequent flyer miles and credit cards so they work for you – and we received the following opinion on how to cover your additional expenses for delayed baggage:

With higher fees that deter people from checking bags, and better tracking technology, airlines still manage to lose suitcases from time to time. In those instances, your credit card can come in handy because many credit cards offer all kinds of protection from lost luggage to car rental insurance if you use them to pay for travel, and in the case of lost or delayed luggage, they will reimburse you for expenses while you wait to get your bag. So it’s worth reviewing the terms of your credit cards to see which ones will protect you best when things go wrong.

We certainly agree with them. In addition, once you get the reimbursement from your credit card you can simply double that amount by requesting the refund from the airline (see point 6) so you can profit from the annoying situation a little bit.

5. Check the status, wait and be patient

Once you’ve made all the paperwork, asked for the overnight kit and allowance for reasonable expenses, you are free to leave the airport. Well, right now there is really not much left that you can do except waiting for the baggage and hoping it’ll be found soon. Airlines usually expect that the baggage will appear on their next flight so wait at least for 24 hours and if the airline’s staff won’t contact you sooner, call the number you got at the baggage claim desk and ask about a progress.

In the meantime you can track the progress of your file online using the World Tracer Tool. With the tool, you can check the real-time status of your delayed baggage and, as needed, modify the delivery and contact information which is very useful once you change your place of stay.

Usually it won’t take more than a few days and you will happily see your baggage again – hopefully it won’t happen right at the end of your few-day conference that you had to survive with a cheap shirt and unfitted suit from a local one stop market.

6. Claim your rights formally

The Montreal Convention states that you must claim your rights formally in form of written complaint in order to request a payment for your additional expenses up to EUR 1,250,-. It’s the same situation as above – airlines won’t give you anything until you ask them. In case of delayed baggage the complaint must be made at the latest within 21 days from the date of a delayed baggage delivery.

If you feel lazy and want us to make all paperwork for you, contact us directly (the left bottom corner of this page) or go through our web app and give us your email – we will make it just for a success-based fee. Yes, it means NO WIN = NO FEE.

Sometimes it may happen that your baggage won’t be delivered at all. If the delay with delivery is more than 21 days, your baggage is considered lost. There will be a post dedicated especially to the lost baggage issue – signup to our newsletters and we’ll keep you posted.

How many times have you experienced the situation of delayed baggage? What is your opinion on airlines’ customer service? How did the overnight kit look like?

Hopefully you find this post useful and it would be great if you share your pieces of information with us through your comments.

  • Matt

    “In the meantime you can track the progress of your file online using the World Tracer Tool. With the tool, you can check the real-time status of your delayed baggage and, as needed, modify the delivery and contact information which is very useful once you change your place of stay.”

    I am in Copenhagen at a coffee shop reading this while I wait for my lost luggage! I have been watching the status of my bag on the World Tracer Tool. As far as I can tell, there is no way to “modify the delivery and contact information”. The tool is just a filled form with no ability to edit, which is really inconvenient because I have a new contact information I need to add.

    I filed the form at the airport but I really wish I had known about the overnight kit and the allowance. I already purchased almost every item in the overnight kit and of course I did not save my receipt.

  • monika kaus

    hello, I was travelling on Nov 4th from Denver to Berlin via Munich. My bag did not arrive to Berlin so I went to Lufthansa’s CS and filed papers. Bag arrived 2 days later at my parents address (in Poland, my final destination) but 3/4 empty. There was no gifts, personal items and clothes. They left me with one pair of socks, jeans and one tshirt. I had several gift items for my parents (was collecting them for over a year … clothes, shoes, etc) unfortunately, I did not collect prove of purchase … Now, Lufthansa wrote me an email :

    Dear Ms. Kaus,

    Thank you for your response. Since baggage is channeled through various points which include governmental agency and security checkpoints, it is not possible to determine exactly where the loss occurred.
    Please understand that airline liability for items declared missing from checked baggage is limited; standard practice is to offer reimbursement for eligible items against original documentation/receipts when a written report is made within seven days of arrival. Credit card statements may serve as verification of these items with individually itemized identification as to price, ownership and location of purchase.
    In all cases, reimbursement is only offered against submission of substantiating ownership and value of the items. You have stated that such receipts are unavailable, and we are therefore unable to honor your request for financial compensation.
    Thank you for the opportunity to clarify Lufthansa’s position in this matter and please be assured that your baggage claim has been afforded careful consideration.
    Sincerely,

    B. McFall

    What do I do???

    • Jakub Eliáš

      Hi Monika, thank you for your questions and I am sorry for later reply. Well, this usual answer from Lufthansa may have a way out. In case you haven’t provided any receipts, send them a table with all the lost stuff together with estimated value. I assume that then they will reimburse at least half of the value stated. Another way could be providing some receipts (even though it might not be included in the baggage) – yes it’s kinda scam, however airlines it’s no surprise that most of travellers don’t keep any receipts of items which are carried in the baggage. Let me know if it helps. Jakub

  • Alison Tsalik

    Hi Jakub, thanks for your detailed blog! We have been dealing with a major flight and lost baggage drama from Iberia for the last three months. Baggage was delayed and a PIR claim made on October 6 after not receiving it on a flight from Tel Aviv to Madrid. The flight was purchased through Iberia, but codeshare with El Al (and TLV-MAD was operated by El Al). The PIR and eventual lost baggage claim was made through Iberia, as El Al verbally insisted it was not their responsibility. After final review and answer from Iberia, they push the responsibility back to El Al. In your codeshare article you imply that both airlines hold *equal* responsibility to provide compensation for lost baggage. What law/convention can I quote to Iberia to inform them of this? Thank you so much! I think I should have used your service from the beginning of all this – but now that we’re here, I just want it over! 😉

    • Kamila Z.

      Hello Alison, thank you for you question. In that case, you’re right that responsibility of the airlines is equal but always is better to make a complaint through the airline which code is stated on the PIR (operating carrier). So I can recommend to make a complaint through the airline from your PIR which is El Al Israel as I can see. Hope that the airline will compensate you soon! Let us know your results 🙂

  • Izabela Comsa

    Hi there,
    My husband flew to Bucharest, Romania from Toronto Canada in December 2016 with Turkish Airlines, his mother was gravelly ill.
    After three days finally arrived in Bucharest (his mother died while waiting for a connecting flight in Instanbul) and his luggage was nowhere to be found. We followed all the procedures(your site is very helpful), got for now 600 SDR for the delay.
    I am waiting for the claim resolution at the lost luggage.
    To our dismay, he arrives by Lufthansa operated by AiR Canada on Jan 05th, the luggage is nowhere to be found AGAIN!
    Frankly, we don’t know if to laugh or cry..poor man needs an entire wardrobe..
    To make a long story short, my questions will be:
    1) Are we entitled to interim expenses if he didn’t ask for them in the Airport?
    2) The claim should be made to Air Canada and Lufthansa?

    Thank you
    Please help!

  • Christos Papaspirou

    Hi, I’ve sent you an email regarding my case, but haven’t heard back from

  • Christos Papaspyrou

    Hi, I’ve sent you an email regarding my case, but haven’t heard back from you yet. My baggage was lost by the airline and I received it 8 days later. The airline wouldn’t answer my emails and I filed two complains. I had claimed the loss at the baggage desk at the airport and did everything as advised online. I would like to know if I’m entitled to receive any compensation for such a situation and in case I am, I’d like to hand you the case. Would you assist me if I provided you all necessary information?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Christos, thanks for your comment and sorry for slow response time. To summarize your situation – you should have bought necessary items (like clothes, toiletries, phone chargers, etc.) and request compensation up to this limit now when the bag is delivered. The airline’s liability limit for baggage delay is usually set to €1,400… it depends on your routing but it works in most cases, you can check it in our system by filing details of your case.

      We’ll happily assist you and get you what the airline owes you – just please file your case in our system at claimair.com. Do upload the receipts of expenses properly. Also don’t forget that once we initiate our activities, we’re always entitled to 25% commission, even when the airline eventually compensate you directly (since you provided them with your bank account details in your previous complaints).

      Please bear in mind that according to the relevant law, we are only allowed to claim amount for your extra expenses which is substantiated with relevant receipts. We always strive to get the maximum amount for our clients and in your case, this is the only way how to succeed.

      Thanks,
      Jakub

      • Christos Papaspyrou

        Jakub, thanks for your response. 25% is fine with me of course.

        I only bought some very basics and didn’t keep receipts. The people at the baggage loss desk kept telling me to wait a couple of days.

        Anyway. According to your system, the airline won’t pay me. I just thought I could get something out of this case, since I had to wait for 8 days with the airline keeping me in the dark during the whole time.

        • Christos, since you don’t have evidence of your loss, it’s close to impossible to get you compensation, there is no fixed and lump sum compensation in your case. I’m sure you’ll find useful our new service that will solve your issue for your future flights – claimbag.com. Jakub

  • Helen Eden

    hello, I am still waiting for Iberia to pay me the compensation they said I was due back in February. My luggage was delayed in January (9th) by 8days. I put in the claim with receipts as I was advised by two Iberia representatives to buy what I needed. Initially Iberia offered me 1/3rd of the expenses I incurred but since then I have not received anything at all and they are not replying to my emails. I have spoken with customer services but still nothing has been settled. Any advice?

    • Hello Helen, thanks for your comment. This behavior is not unusual, this is how airlines usually act. Please file your claim in our system, we’d happily check it out and help you get compensation. Thanks, Jakub

  • Manohar M G

    Hi,

    This is Manohar, I had travelled on 7-Jan-17 from Bangalore to Frankfurt (Bang-Abu Dhabi-Rome-Frankfurt). My baggage is not delivered to the final destination (Frankfurt). I raised a request in Property irregularity report(PIR) in Lost and Found Department in Frankfurt airport.

    I had filled a case in ClaimAir and I had send all the documents required for your verification 3 months back only (on Jan-17) But still there is no response from your side. Can you please let me know when can I have receive the response and the money

    • Martin at ClaimAir

      Dear Manohar, reply to your request has been sent to your email address. Thanks. Martin

  • Reza Behzadi

    Hello,

    51 days ago (14 Feb), When I arrived in berlin, Pegasus airline losted my luggage and after 25 days (11 March) my luggage reached me. I have two question. I’m thankful if you answer to me.
    1. Is my luggage considered lost?
    2. If answer of the first question is yes, How much the compensation?

  • Seymour Fortescue

    Hi. The South American airline LATAM lost our suitcase. I cannot find LATAM, nor its predecessor LAN Chile on your claim form. What do I do?

  • AndieJ

    Hello, I stumbled across your website and wonder if my case would be worth signing up for. I have been corresponding with Turkish Airlines since 8th January 2017, when I registered my case as missing at Istanbul Airport. I was en route from Copenhagen to Khartoum and got caught in snow blizzards for 4 days. I returned back home without continuing to Khartoum. Then the long story of waiting for my suitcase began. From 8th January until I finally received my suitcase, 77 days passed. Turkish told me that if I claimed for a lost suitcase they would stop looking for it and I would receive compensation, but then I would have no chance of being reunited with my suitcase. They advised me to wait a bit longer. So I did. However, as there were many items I needed as well as my whole professional wardrobe being in my lost suitcase, I had to replace quite a few things. After 10 weeks, Turkish had more or less given up and asked me for receipts of items in my suitcase. I had just provided them with the list when my case miraculously appeared. They then sent me a message to provide them with receipts for the items (they called them emergency items- although after 11 weeks they could hardly be called emergency). I sent them receipts of the clothes and toiletries I had purchased while waiting for my suitcase. In fact I only replaced about 50% of my work clothes, shoes, toiletries etc. I sent receipts for $2000 approximately. They came back immediately with an offer of $300 as being the maximum they pay. Compensation for a delayed case is $50 per day for a maximum of 6 days. So that is $300 regardless of whether my case was lost for 6 or 77 days. Why did they bother asking me for receipts etc, I wonder? I understood that after 21 days a case is considered lost, even if it turns up again. I also understood that the Montreal Convention states that the limit of liability for the airline is 1,131 SDRs for lost or delayed baggage. I realise this is a maximum amount and that airlines will do their best to pay a lot less. I have not been able to ascertain whether Turkish Airlines’ statement that $300 is the maximum amount they can pay is actually true. I would think that such a level of compensation would cover standard claims where suitcases are returned within a week. 11 weeks is quite a different matter. Is it worth pursuing through ClaimAir or should I just accept the $300. I would be happier with the 1,131 SDRs  needless to say. The inconvenience was huge, being without my work clothes and other essential items. Many thanks in advance, Andie

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