With the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA’s) recent restrictions
regarding liquids in carry-on luggage, more air travelers are opting to check
some or all of their bags. The increased volume has put more strain on an
already over-taxed system, and the US Department of Transportation’s most recent
figures show that more than six out of every thousand travelers are experiencing
problems with delayed, damaged, and lost luggage.
Your luggage does not always travel on the same flight that you do, particularly
if you have a late check-in, late connection, or last minute changes have been
made due to flight delays or cancellations. If this is the case, chances are
good that you and your bags will be reunited with the arrival of the next
Occasionally, bags are misrouted to the wrong airport, and it may take a few
days to locate and reroute them. The airlines will usually deliver them to you
when they arrive. You may also request partial reimbursement for personal items
like clothing and toiletries if the expense was caused by the delay, so ask an
airline baggage representative for guidelines and make sure you save your
Quickly inspect your luggage inside and out as soon as you retrieve it from the
carousel. If a bag has been damaged, report it to an airline baggage
representative for visual inspection and repair instructions before you leave
If the airline is unable to locate your luggage, you must submit a claim form
which can be obtained at the airport, or, in most cases, downloaded from the
airline’s website and mailed. The maximum airline liability for domestic travel
is $2800 per ticketed passenger unless a greater value has been declared and
paid for at check-in, and international limits vary. Check your airline’s
website for their specific policy.
Before You Go:
- Allow plenty of time at the airport. Bags checked right before departure
time may travel on a later flight.
- Find the destination airport code on your ticket or itinerary, and make
sure that the routing tag placed on your luggage at check-in shows the correct
- Make a list of your itinerary, including hotel names, addresses and phone
numbers, and the dates of your stay so that delayed luggage can be delivered
to you. Keep a copy with you, and place a copy inside each checked bag.
- Personalize each checked bag with a colorful luggage tag or strap, and
take a quick photo with your cell phone or digital camera. Should your bag be
lost or delayed, it will be easily described and identified.
- Do not check valuables – carry them on board.
- Place a change of clothing in your carry-on bag. You’ll have an outfit to
wear and an outfit to wash should your luggage be delayed or lost.
- Lock your check-in luggage with a TSA approved luggage lock or strap.
- Report any loss or damage before you leave the airport.