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.

    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!

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