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Lost Luggage Rights
10 Things You Should Know about Lost or Delayed Luggage
Better understand your rights when your luggage is lost or delayed by an airline
Most of you have probably had your luggage lost or delayed by an airline at some point in time. If so, you would likely agree that airlines are pretty reluctant to do much of anything to help rectify the situation. It is important, then, for you to understand that you have rights where your luggage is concerned; including compensation.
Know your rights
Let’s take a closer look at some tips for you to bear in mind when dealing with delayed or lost luggage:
1. Act quickly
Airlines are much more likely to accept responsibility for the loss of your luggage if you report the issue immediately. If possible, you should fill out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) once it is clear that your luggage did not make it to your final destination. A PIR can usually be found at the airline desks in the baggage claim hall. While not a legal requirement, completing the PIR will likely make the process less of a struggle.
2. Be able to describe your bag
When reporting your missing luggage you will be asked to provide personal and flight details as well as an accurate description of your bag. Make sure you know the color, shape, and size of all of your bags. Better yet, take a picture of your bag on your phone before your flight. The seconds it takes to snap a photo will likely save you a lot of time and effort.
3. You can keep tabs on the airline
After you submit a PIR, you should be able to monitor the tracing progress. Contact baggage services or the airline’s central department or log onto an online baggage tracing page. The reference number you use in any case will relate to the luggage receipt you received during check-in. Try not to lose it.
4. Timing matters
Your bag will be declared officially lost after 21 days. Also, you should file a claim for compensation within 21 days of receiving your delayed luggage or the lost declaration.
5. Covering essentials
When your bag is delayed or lost while you are abroad, the airline is required to compensate you for the cost of “essential items.” These are usually classified as toiletries, underwear, and laundry costs; not a new outfit. Make sure to keep receipts of all you buy.
6. The form of payment from the airline
Your compensation may be paid in one of three ways: an upfront cash payment, a fixed daily allotment, or reimbursement after your claim and receipts have been submitted and reviewed. It might take between two and eight weeks to process your claim.
7. European Union limits
If you are traveling within the European Union, you are entitled to up to approximately €1,220. In reality, you will likely receive much less. It may be worthwhile to obtain travel insurance as a way to potentially get higher compensation. Also, if you are traveling with expensive items you may be eligible for more money if you make a special advance declaration to the airline; during check-in at the latest.
8. Multiple carriers
If you’re bag has been transferred to more than one airline within a single journey, it is a good rule of thumb to file your claim with the last airline flown. In other words, the airline that delivered you to your final destination is usually the one that will handle the issue.
9. Statute of limitations
You have two years from the date your luggage arrives or is declared lost to file further legal action against the airline.
10. Try to carry it on
The bottom line is that luggage does get lost in transit. If you want to ensure that it doesn’t happen to you, limit yourself to carry-on luggage.
By understanding your rights, dealing with the process of filing a claim and seeking compensation become much easier. Knowledge is power.
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