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What to do when an airline loses your luggage

minute read

    You've finally landed at your destination and you’re looking forward to grabbing your things and starting your adventure. That is, until you’re waiting longer than usual for your luggage to appear at baggage claim.

    When an airline loses your luggage, it can be a frustrating, stressful situation. Let’s go through a few ways to help you navigate through this so you can continue on with your travels, whether you’ve landed home or elsewhere, despite this obstacle.

    In this article, we will review:

    • What to do if your luggage is lost or delayed
    • How to help prevent your luggage from getting lost

    What to do if your luggage is lost or delayed

    Before you report your lost luggage, wait an extra 30-40 minutes for your bags. Look outside of your designated baggage claim area and search the other carousels just in case it was misplaced. If you don’t see your bag still, there are a few steps you can take to help reclaim it.

    File an official report with the airline

    Go to the airline’s desk and provide the agent there with information about your bag. Try to be a specific as you can. Think about any distinct features your bag(s) has, like material, rips or tears, certain colors or patterns, etc.

    Be sure to confirm your address and contact information as well. This way, if your luggage is found, it can be returned to you properly.

    Ask the airlines to deliver your luggage

    If your luggage is correctly marked, many airlines will automatically deliver the lost luggage to you once you've inquired at the terminal into the status of your lost luggage. Make sure to tell the agents to have the luggage delivered to you directly, rather than put yourself in a position where you need to travel back to the airport.

    If you're staying at nearby hotel or residence, some airlines may be able to be able to deliver your bags directly to where you are located, so provide them with this address.

    Buy any necessary items you need to continue your trip

    While you wait for your luggage to be located, start purchasing items you need that were in your suitcase. You might be in need of warm clothing, chargers and other essentials to be able to continue your trip.

    You may also want to check with your airline to see if you are eligible for travel reimbursement, which could be used as credit to purchase necessary items.

    File a claim with travel insurance

    If you enrolled in travel insurance, contact your insurance company and file a claim with them. If the luggage is lost and cannot be recovered, you may be eligible for reimbursement. Be sure to review your insurance policy for specific details.

    How to prevent your luggage from getting lost

    As you can see, lost luggage can create a hassle, and can cost you time and money. This is not ideal for when you’re aiming to have smooth travels. Below are some tips for how to help prevent your luggage from getting lost.

    Use a tracker

    Technology is your friend here. If possible, purchase a digital tracker to connect to your bag. This way you can locate your luggage using your phone should it get lost or delayed. Make sure the tracker is properly activated and connected to your phone before you travel.

    Remove old bag tags and update address information

    Don't forget to update your home address on your luggage tags. It can be easy to forget this, but before you travel make sure the tags accurately reflect information such as your name, contact, residential address, etc.


    Life happens, and sometimes when you travel your luggage gets lost in the maze of airline transportation. Fortunately, there are ways to help mitigate this issue by doing a few simple things, and taking immediate action when luggage has been lost or delayed. As a savvy traveler, you can navigate lost luggage with these helpful tips so that you can enjoy the rest of your journey — or feel relaxed at home, confident your bags are on their way.

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