My family and I travel while I run my company Purveyor of Geekery
It’s the horror story you never want to experience, but occasionally, you might lose your luggage during your travels. Luckily, there are a few steps you can take if an airline loses your luggage. In most cases, you’ll get your belongings back, but you’ll find yourself without the things you’ve carefully packed for as much as a month. No matter what else you do, stay calm and don’t panic.
In the hurry of leaving a location, it’s easy to forget a bag or two. The moment you realize your luggage is missing, pull over at the next opportunity, such as a rest stop or store. Contact the last location you had the luggage. Explain what you’ve lost and ask if anything has been found. For instance, a hotel could quickly check your room to see if a bag was left behind. If it is found, you can return and retrieve your bags.
If you’re not far from the location, turn around and look for the missing luggage. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to find your items untouched. You can prevent this problem in the future by creating a checklist of each luggage item you have with you. Before leaving your hotel, the airport or any other location, consult your checklist. You might still forget a small item or two, but you won’t lose everything.
Dealing With Airlines
Most lost luggage stories deal with airlines losing some or all of a person’s bags. Once you see what bags are missing, file a lost luggage report immediately. The airline will try to track down the missing luggage. In most cases, your bags are likely on a different airline. If you don’t have any luggage due to their error, some airlines will give you a small stipend to buy a change of clothes and basic necessities. They’ll also give you a time frame of when your luggage will arrive. The airline will send the missing bags to your hotel or a location of your choice.
If the airline can’t find your luggage, they’ll reimburse you. Airlines don’t consider a bag lost until after 21 days. You’ll need to provide a detailed list of what was in each bag. Sadly, you usually won’t receive the full value, especially with electronics. However, if you bought your airline ticket with a credit card, check with your card company to see if they offer any insurance to cover issues like this.
Making Life Easier
My biggest fear is the airline will lost something really valuable. As a result, I tend to pack any valuables, such as jewelry, and electronics, such as my laptop and smartphone, in my carry-on bag. I also pack a change of clothes. I keep a list of every item I pack so I can easily tell the airline what’s missing. You can also use this list method to ensure you repack everything between destinations to avoid losing any of your luggage yourself.