Whether you are flying overseas for business or leisure, luggage is a very important component of your travel. It is your holy grail packed with all the necessities for survival. Right from cash, identity cards, key documents, clothes, toiletries, first-aid kit and much more, your baggage is something that’s not easy to part with.
After alighting from the flight, all you want to do is just to collect your baggage and get out of the airport. If you find your luggage not arriving in atleast half-hour’s time, then it means your luggage has gone missing.
After a reasonable waiting time, if you are still unable to spot your luggage, here’s what you should do.
Keep calm and think straight
Hard as it sounds, refrain from panicking. It helps to keep a level head and think straight. Inform the cab driver or your host waiting outside that you would be held up for some more time. Most lost luggages are not actually lost or stolen, they might also be just delayed. Hence have some patience.
Ask for help
Call a friend or family member back home or in the destination to inform the loss. Incase you need cash, request them to send money via a trusted money transfer service provider. You’ll need it to buy food or any other necessity at the airport.
File a PIR
Reach out to the airline baggage office at the airport and immediately report the missing baggage. File in the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) and fill the other necessary forms with the last airline you flew with (if you had taken multiple connecting flights). Make and retain copies of any documentation made, receipts or tags you’ve received for checked-bags. You may be asked to produce them later when you collect the missed luggage or get compensated. Make sure you don’t leave the airport without filing your complaint. This is the most important step to recover lost baggage or to get financially compensated.
Stake your claim
Your luggage would be declared as lost, if you don’t get any positive news on the status of your baggage within 21 days. Any delayed baggage is considered lost, even if the airline delivers it after that period. So, all you need to do is stake your claim for compensation. Send out a letter to your airline stating that you are “claiming compensation under the Montreal Convention”.
The Montreal Convention (1999) strives for the unification of certain rules for international carriage of passengers, baggage and other cargo by air. It requires airlines to fully compensate travellers for the cost of replacement items purchased until the baggage is delivered, to a maximum of 1,131 SDR (Special Drawing Right). The SDR is an international reserve asset that can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. The value of a SDR is based on the basket of five major currencies such as the U.S. Dollar, Euro, the Japanese Yen, Pound Sterling and Chinese Renminbi.
Get the insurance cover
Report your lost baggage to your travel insurance provider. Enquire about how to strike the insurance claim for lost luggage. Most insurers provide delayed and lost luggage coverage.
Don’t take it out on the airline executive
Though tardy baggage arrival causes frustration and deviation from plans, remember that the airline executive at the desk did not lose your luggage. So don’t lash out at them. They are only doing their best to help you. Be nice to them, so that they will be pleased to help and not get annoyed by your tantrums.
Get the basics right
While packing, don’t forget to label and tag each bag with proper contact details. The most common reason for the baggage confusion is late check-ins. Hence come early and give the baggage executives enough time.
And always as a precautionary measure, pack absolute essentials such as two pairs of clothes, medicines, important documents such as passport and insurance papers, and baby clothes or food in your hand luggage. Ensure you keep no valuables in the check-in baggage.
Airlines too take sufficient care to deliver your luggage safely. Inspite of the efforts, sometimes luggages get missed. This may be due to the fact that sometimes other passengers might have falsely picked up your luggage or there might have been an actual theft.
Now armed with the above mentioned information, tackle your lost luggage scenario with confidence!