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 flight.
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 receipts.
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 the airport.
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 code.
- 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.