A guide to dealing with lost baggage

There are, on average, over 3 billion air passengers per year globally. In 2022 an all-time high of 26 million pieces of baggage were lost, delayed or damaged. There are many reasons behind this. Baggage problems can be caused by simple human error in baggage handling or complex technical glitches in the vast web of airport logistics. Quick turnarounds or last-minute gate shuffles can also lead to our bags arriving fashionably late or getting lost. Layovers and connecting flights can sometimes lead to bags being put on the wrong plane, causing delays in the bags reaching the right destination or even becoming lost.

What to do when your baggage takes on a journey of its own

When faced with the disappearance of your suitcase, keeping your cool is paramount. Here's a down-to-earth guide on how to handle the situation:

Report it ASAP:

The moment you notice your baggage has disappeared, head over to the airline's help desk. The sooner you report it, the better the chances of a swift recovery. You have 21 days to claim for delayed or lost baggage, or 7 days for damage to your suitcase or contents.

Know your rights:

Familiarise yourself with the airline's compensation policies. While they're committed to reuniting you with your luggage, knowing your rights can provide peace of mind in case of delays.

Give them the details:

Be ready to describe your bag in detail – colour, size, brand, anything that makes it stand out. This helps the airline track it down more efficiently.

File a claim:

Airlines usually have a specific process for filing a lost luggage claim. Follow their guidelines, providing all the necessary details and documents, like your travel itinerary and baggage tags.

Stay in the loop:

Get a reference number for your claim and stay in touch with the airline for updates. Many airlines offer online tracking systems, so you can keep tabs on your claim's progress.

Keep receipts:

If you need to purchase essentials such as toiletries or clothing then keep the receipts. These will be required if you claim airline compensation.

Preventive measures:

It is impossible to eliminate the risk of lost, damaged or delayed baggage entirely, however there are a few proactive steps you can take to minimise the risks:

Keep essentials in your carry-on:

Important items like medication, crucial documents, and a change of clothes should always be in your carry-on. This way, you're covered even if your checked baggage takes a detour.

Split baggage:

If you are travelling with other members of your household and have multiple pieces of checked baggage, then splitting your items between different cases can help to minimise the disruption caused by lost baggage.

Go bold:

Make your suitcase easily identifiable with a unique; think bright coloured cases, ribbons and vibrant tag. These small touches can speed up the reunion process if your bag goes on an unexpected adventure.

Double-check tags and flight details:

Before handing over your bag, take a moment to ensure the luggage tag is secure and the details match your destination. It's a simple step that can make a big difference.

Consider travel insurance:

Investing in travel insurance that covers lost or delayed baggage adds an extra layer of protection and peace of mind. Good To Go Gold and Platinum travel insurance policies provide baggage cover and delayed baggage cover; policy limits and terms and conditions apply.

The standard insurance does not cover gadgets such as tablets or mobile phones as standard. To provide extra cover for those you would need to purchase the ‘Phones, Tablets & Other Gadgets’ extension to cover you up to £1,000 for damage, loss or theft of gadgets.