Is your luggage missing or damaged? Here’s what to do

As luck would have it, your luggage tends to go missing when you need your belongings more than ever. And we all know – no matter, if your bags were late to arrive and are about to catch up with you or nobody can even guess where they have lost – it is unbearably frustrating either way. Of course, it would be a less insufferable and baffling mystery if you were prepared for such an event. And it is even more important to know how to act in a situation like this. That’s why we have prepared an essential guide for the travellers whose luggage is missing or was damaged.

According to the latest SITA Baggage Report, more than 24 million checked-in bags are mishandled every year in the whole world. Under such circumstances, ‘mishandled’ means all the bags that air travellers reported as missing. Or claimed as damaged, eventually – even lacking some initially packed items. About 95 percent of all the missing luggage items were sooner or later returned to their owners. But the remaining share of irrevocably lost belongings still seems cruelly high. So what should you do if your checked-in bag contributes to those statistics?

Missing luggage

Occasionally, the last bag could hit the carousel much later than all the others. Especially if you are in the environment of strict security or there are customs involved. So enough patience could save you a great deal of trouble – and a lot of potential misunderstanding to straighten out.

But what should you do if the luggage collection time is over and you are left only with a backpack which you were carrying as a cabin bag? Well, there is an already established practice with some formal procedures to follow. And such procedures are more or less identical, no matter which airport was so ill-fated for you.

Stay in the baggage collection area and fill in the missing luggage documentation

Yes, you got it right: there certainly should be some paperwork involved. And it is in your best interest not to leave the luggage collection area without finishing it. Unless, of course, the representative of an airline walks you out somewhere across the public area of the airport.

In such a situation you most probably will be directed to the airline’s representative. Or some other dedicated person who is responsible for the missing luggage cases at the given airport. He or she will be the one to guide you through the whole process of filling in the corresponding form.

It’s a formal procedure so be sure that the airport or airline’s employee you are dealing with is experienced in handling matters like that. Another circumstance that could give you a bit more confidence in a situation like this is related to statistics. In fact, there is a 1/20 probability that your luggage isn’t even lost but rather delayed. But in any case – do not forget to take all the documents stating the fact of the luggage loss, because you may need those papers later.

Provide your address and wait for your luggage to be delivered

For example, the resort you have decided to spend your holidays at – or the hotel where you are staying during your business trip, with the exact dates, indicating how long will you be staying at one or another place. That is done because the airline is obliged to deliver your luggage to your doorstep if your bag is delayed – or lost and later found somewhere between your initial baggage drop point and the luggage carousel next to which you have witnessed it not coming out along with others’.

So the first thing to consider here is that you’ll have to wait – and do not rush to the airport or call every person in charge every morning asking if your bag was finally found and if it is about to be returned. When it will be found, the courier will deliver it right to your door.

And don’t worry if you are staying in a few places – or even countries – during your trip. The airline is obliged to bring your belongings to your doorstep.

Still no suitcase? Fill in the lost luggage claim

In most cases, you won’t have to wait for your lost luggage to be found for more than a couple of days.

Note that unlike the cases of flight disruptions when you have at least a year to fill in the claim for flight compensation, the situation of missing luggage requires you to apply in the 21 day period from your flight date. And even if your luggage is covered by the travel insurance, you can always contact Skycop to claim up to €1200 in lost luggage compensation.

Damaged luggage

Now let’s move to another deeply unpleasant scenario. In this scenario, you get all your luggage at the carousel but realized that it’s damaged right away. Here comes the case of damaged luggage.

Stay in the baggage collection area

If you leave the premises before the proof of such destruction is collected, it is virtually impossible to verify that it’s not your personal fault which resulted in luggage damage long after you collected your bags.

Fill a damaged baggage claim

To fill a damaged baggage claim, you must ask the person in charge to fill in all the proper documentation – just like in the case of lost luggage. Another important thing to notice – in the case of damaged luggage you have only 7 days to fill in the claim. So hurry up and do not miss the deadline!

Take photos of the damaged suitcase

We all know that sometimes the phone can fail to update time and location settings just after switching the flight mode off. So you probably wouldn’t want the proof of your luggage damage to be shown with the data from your departure airport’s location and time zone.

Having trouble with the airlines? Reach out to Skycop

Of course, you can reach Skycop not only in the case of lost, missing or damaged luggage – but any time you have faced the disruption of air travel. Was your flight delayed, cancelled or overbooked? Fill in our claim form and find out whether you are eligible for flight compensation of up to €600 – it’s completely free!


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