Lost luggage can ruin any trip or vacation. First you have to find the right place in the airport to report it then you have to face the next day with the thought of putting on the same clothes you’re currently wearing. If you’re traveling on business, lost luggage may mean that you’re without valuable materials or samples in an important meeting. Take a look at the 8 steps of dealing with lost luggage and never have your tip ruined again!
1. Prepare for the Worst
The best way to deal with anything unpleasant is to mitigate the risk of it actually happening. There’s no guarantee but the first step in avoiding the pain of lost luggage is to pack as is if you expect it to happen. Buy the biggest piece of hand luggage you can that fits the measurement restrictions and pack it carefully. Assume that should your main bag go missing you will probably be without it for 48 hours so stuff everything in your carry-on that you think you will need for that period. Don’t forget to check the restrictions for what can be packed in carry-ons.
The most basic step of dealing with lost luggage is labeling and identification. Invest in some good luggage tags rather than the flimsy tie on ones. Folding tags are a good idea, especially if you’re on a multi-stay trip. You can include your itinerary on a piece of paper folded in with your name and address so when your bag is recovered it can arrive at the right destination. When choosing your main suitcase, ignore the flashy designer piece – that’s a magnet for luggage thieves. Also, ensure your bag is instantly recognizable on the carousel. A jazzy belt or some distinctive stickers will make it stand out. It will also make it easier for the people who will be searching for your lost luggage to identify.
If the worst case scenario happens at least you will be recompensed if you had the foresight to book trip insurance. Make sure the insurance you pick not only has cover for lost luggage, but also for delayed.
4. Sh*t Happens!
So even after all your careful preparations, you’re waiting at the baggage carousel and hey presto! No bag! It is just possible that someone may have made off with it in error – especially if there happens to be a similar bag still circling the baggage belt when everyone has left. Make a search of the baggage hall, if may have been lifted off and left or it may have originally been on the wrong belt. Still no bag? Then it’s time to head to the general lost luggage desk or the airline desk.
5. Property Irregularity Report
There is standard documentation for lost luggage whichever airline is responsible for it. On the Property Irregularity Report provide as much information as possible for the authorities to identify your bag. Be able to describe it very well. Know the phone number of where you’re staying so you can provide that along with your cell number. You will be given a code number and if you wish you can then use worldtracer.com to track the progress of your lost luggage claim. At this point you are also entitled to ask for money (or vouchers) to buy essentials if needed.
6. Make a Claim
After filing your Property Irregularity Report, it is time to contact your insurer. Even if your bag turns up quickly you’ve lost nothing by letting the insurance company know of your intention to log a delayed or lost luggage claim. If you have failed to take out trip insurance there’s little you can do but if you booked your trip by credit card check the fine print as you may be covered for lost luggage.
7. The Waiting Game
Once you arrive at your accommodation let the staff know about your lost luggage. They will then be ready for any calls from the airline or when your bag suddenly lands in reception. Surprisingly, most lost luggage is returned to its owner reasonably quickly. Don’t waste your trip by hanging around waiting for news of your lost luggage. Call the airline regularly but not every hour and log on to worldtracer.com. If you are being charged for internet use, keep the receipts as you may be able to claim these from your insurance. The same goes for any supplies you have to buy. Do not however make big purchases until you know your bag is lost and you can’t do without stuff.
At some point, if your lost luggage isn’t found, the airline will change its status from missing to lost. Each airline has a different threshold for when luggage is lost but once you know this is now the situation you can complete a Baggage Inventory Form to begin the process of having the cost of your contents reimbursed.
Don’t let lost luggage ruin your vacation. By following these steps to dealing with lost luggage you can at least be in control and know you have done the best you can, the rest is down to bad luck and no-one can legislate for that. Do you have any horror stories of lost luggage or any tips to share?
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