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Your Rights When Your Luggage is Lost

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 30 Oct 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Your Rights When Your Luggage Is Lost

You’ve been saving all those holiday clothes for your trip, packed them carefully into a brand new case (which you’ve added a label to so that you spot it on the carousel along with all the other black suitcases) and there you are, hopefully waiting for your case to appear. So, when you wait, and wait...and come to that horrible sinking realisation that you won’t be seeing your luggage any time soon, what should you do?

A recent insurance company poll suggested that around 200,000 bags are lost or misplaced each month at airports in the UK airports – and globally, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the total is a staggering 42 million pieces of luggage.

What Does the Law Say About Baggage?

If your luggage is lost by the airline (and the same applies if it’s damaged or simply delayed in getting to the agreed destination) they could well be liable for damages under a piece of law called the Montreal Convention.

There is a maximum amount of compensation you can claim, which is based on international currencies, and calculated on a daily basis by the International Monetary Fund. There are also time limits that apply to making claims.

You can check www.imf.org for more information on today’s rates.

The airline can also get out of paying compensation under the Montreal Convention if it manages to prove that all the necessary steps were taken to avoid losing your luggage – or that it was actually impossible to take those measures.

What Can I Do if My Baggage Has Been Lost?

According to the Convention, an airline has to treat your baggage as lost if it still hasn’t turned up after 21 days, so feasibly you could be home from your holiday before your baggage has turned up, and still the airline can call it a ‘delay’! However, after 21 days, you can legitimately start shouting about compensation.

The airline will want to know what was in the missing bag, and they may be awkward and ask for a list of items. You could make a list before you go, if you are worried that your bags could go the way of Naomi Campbell’s at T5, or if you have anything valuable in there, make a note. Better still, if you’re taking anything valuable or essential, take it in your carry on luggage. Better to be safe than sorry!

An airline compensation payout is unlikely to cover the full cost of the items you’ve lost. Unless you can prove that there were brand new items in the case, you’ll probably get second hand value – and in some cases it’s actually more cost effective to claim on your home contents, or travel insurance...even after paying the excess. Weigh up the pros and cons before you decide which route to take on a lost baggage claim.

My Baggage isn’t Lost, Apparently it’s Just ‘Delayed’

If you arrive at the airport before your cases do, you should be able to claim compensation to cover the cost of anything you need to buy urgently such as toiletries, and a change of underwear. If you’re lucky, the airline will offer you a one-off payment at the airport to cover this. Some will only pay out a set amount per day and for a maximum number of days. Some will ask for receipts for any purchases you’ve had to make as a result but don’t offer anything up front.

If you haven’t been reunited with your baggage 21 days after your flight, it’s considered as lost and you can claim against the airline for compensation.

The Airline has Damaged My Baggage!

If you’ve ever watched the way luggage is handled when it comes off of the planes, you’ll probably wonder how you’ve managed to get away without any damaged cases up until now! The airline will look at any claims you make about damage to your baggage, and these are paid out based on the value of the bags plus anything inside that was also damaged.

As with lost luggage, they are entitled to ask you for proof and/or receipts for the items you are claiming for, and will more than likely offer a payment based on depreciation if the items aren’t new. If they’ve just damaged the case, they could even just try to give you a replacement.If you have any problems with baggage, whether it’s lost damaged or delayed, the first thing to do is report the problem to the service desk in the baggage collection hall. If you don’t, it can make the whole claiming process that much harder.

When you report the problem, you should ask the representative to complete a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) and give you a copy of it. The airline you’re going to claim from will want to see the PIR when you make your claim. If you haven’t managed to get a PIR, but still need to claim, it isn’t a legal requirement and you’re still entitled to make a claim – it just slows things down.

Time Limits

The Montreal Convention sets time limits on any claims regarding baggage:

  • Damaged baggage – seven days from receipt of the damaged items
  • Delayed baggage – twenty-one days from the date of delivery
  • Lost baggage – there’s no time limit but it’s advisable to make the complaint as soon as possible, once your luggage has either been missing for twenty-one days or the airline has admitted they’ve lost it.

Lost luggage is an ongoing problem with airlines, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. As compensation claiming can be like getting blood out of a stone, the general rule should be that if it’s valuable or essential – keep it with you!

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I flew from Perugia to Stanstead on August 11.I was an assisted traveller with scoliosis. My luggage was not on the Carousel. In the wheelchair I was taken to the lost baggage where I reported it. He had my address and said it would be delivered to me in 2 days. It is 14 weeks and It has not come. I have been sending them e mails nearly daily. They do not respond. My Insurance co will not pay out although RyanAir e mailed it is missing. Then 2 days ago they said I had been reunited with my luggage.This is a lie. I do not have my luggage and have had to borrow money to replace things. I am so stressed that I am now ill. What they have said is untrue. Please help me.
Alex - 30-Oct-18 @ 9:11 PM
My luggage was lost on a coach transfer with thomas cook from the airport to hotel. Our original coach broke down, wewere transferred to another coach, where the driver wasn't happy at having to take extra passengers. When we got to our hotel we pointed out our 2 suitcases, turned away to get our passports out our bags and when we turned back the coach was driving away with his luggage hold door still closing, obviously in a hurry. We looked at our cases and he had gave us the wrong one. Thomas cook have been no help. Ive had no help to buy essentials and just keep getting told claim your insurance. Are we entitled to compensation under the Montreal Convention
Jax101 - 1-Oct-18 @ 4:00 PM
Hello, I flew KLM from Heathrow to Lagos via Amsterdam on the 9th August 2018. Arrived in lagos only to discovered that one of my luggage was delayed (we were informed on the plane before take off however I checked-in online and very early so I expected my complete bags). Thankfully, I had family in lagos so I didn't have to spend a lot of money to buy stuff. The next day I went to the baggage claim cos I received an email that my luggage was on the way. Long story short, i got my luggage 4 days after I arrived. I made a complaint to KLM for the delay and lack of proper communication, which they apologized for. Today, I got an email stating they are offering 100 euros as compensation. It is satisfactory or I can get more for the delay?
Seun - 19-Aug-18 @ 3:09 PM
Amanda - Your Question:
On the 28 July I returned from a Marella Cruise to Newcastle Port. When we disembarked to collect our bags one of them was missing. There was one left similar to mine but obviously not mine. The port staff searched high and low for it. They advised me to go to the port terminal and see the Tui/Marella staff. We spoke to a senior Marella lady (in a white shirt). She asked one of the Tui/Marella to take all my details of my suitcase, what was on top of the case , any tags etc. She took my name address phone numbers. It looked very much like someone had taken my suitcase by mistake. I took a photo of the left case complete with cabin number and booking ref. The official said she would get somebody to contact these people then contact me after 5pm on the 28/7/18 she would email me the forms ie property irregularity form. I have still heard nothing ! My property has now been missing 3 days. What do I do ? Nobody is able to give me any information about my luggage.Help please

Our Response:
Here's what the TUI terms and conditions say (though it does relate to airlines):
"If your bag has been missing for 6 or more days, call the TUI Baggage Services Department on 0333 577 0300. Calls from UK landlines cost the standard rate, but calls from mobiles may be higher. Check with your network provider.
Just so you know, we have limited liability in cases of delayed delivery and lost or damaged baggage under the Montreal Convention, so you may wish to make a claim through your travel insurance provider. However, we'll be pleased to help if you decide to send your claim to TUI. You can't claim from both your travel insurance provider and the airline."
Send an email so you have a record of what you've said. If you're still having problems try the Resolver service
YourTravelRights - 1-Aug-18 @ 12:51 PM
On the 28 July I returned from a Marella Cruise to Newcastle Port.When we disembarked to collect our bags one of them was missing . There was one left similar to mine but obviously not mine. The port staff searched high and low for it.They advised me to go to the port terminal and see the Tui/Marella staff . We spoke to a senior Marella lady (in a white shirt). She asked one of the Tui/Marella to take all my details of my suitcase, what was on top of the case , any tags etc . She took my name address phone numbers . It looked very much like someone had taken my suitcase by mistake . I took a photo of the left case complete with cabin number and booking ref. The official said she would get somebody to contact these people then contact me after 5pm on the 28/7/18 she would email me the forms ie property irregularity form . I have still heard nothing ! My property has now been missing 3 days . What do I do ? Nobody is able to give me any information about my luggage. Help please
Amanda - 31-Jul-18 @ 9:10 AM
My luggage was delayed by 16 days on my inbound flight and when I finally received my bag it was damaged the airline said they want photos etc of bag so they can try to repair. I wanted to know if I can claim anything for delayed luggage on inbound. Lucky I did not have to but any new stuff as I was helped out by friends and family. But 16days there must be something on the inbound I can claim insurance says no claim but can claim on the damaged baggage just have to pay excess.
Madness82 - 25-Jul-18 @ 11:11 PM
Sorry to hear about your daughter's luggage gigi particularly at the start of her holiday. Same thing happened to us on our way home. 2 identical suitcases loaded onto transfer coach but no sign of them at the airport. Still waiting for TUI to respond. Absolutely appalling.
Nothappy - 21-Jul-18 @ 12:47 PM
Thank you for your response as detailed below. Unfortunately when my daughter approached the TUI (Thomson) rep at the hotel for assistance with essential items she was informed that once she had collected her suitcase from the carousel in the airport TUI are not liable and therefore they could not help her. It makes me wonder how her case could have been stolen with the driver of the TUI transfer coach standing there.
Gigi - 13-Jun-18 @ 5:53 PM
Gigi - Your Question:
My teenaged daughter a currently on a package holiday with TUI, flights transfers & accommodation all included. She left the airport with her suitcase and found the TUI transfer coach where the driver was already loading the suitcases, she set her suitcase down with her partners and the other passenger cases and boarded the coach along with everybody else. The TUI coach made two stops before they reached their destination and when they arrived her suitcase was nowhere to be seen. She immediately reported it to the TUI rep who said they would look into it but we are now on day 3 of her holiday & nothing. Her funds are dwindling on the essential items she has had to replace & she just wants to come home. My questions are: don't tui have a duty of care towards my daughter to help towards purchasing essential items? and, are they really not liable once the baggage has left the carousel in the airport?

Our Response:
Your daughter should be claim from the airline to cover the cost of anything she needs buy urgently such as toiletries, change of underwear etc. The airline might offer a one-off payment at the airport to cover this. Some will only pay out a set amount per day and for a maximum number of days. Some will ask for receipts for any purchases you’ve had to make as a result but don’t offer anything up front.
YourTravelRights - 13-Jun-18 @ 3:34 PM
My teenaged daughter a currently on a package holiday withTUI, flights transfers & accommodation all included. She left the airport with her suitcase and found the TUI transfer coach where the driver was already loading the suitcases, she set her suitcase down with her partners and the other passenger cases and boarded the coach along with everybody else. The TUI coach made two stops before they reached their destination and when they arrived her suitcase was nowhere to be seen. She immediately reported it to the TUI rep who said they would look into it but we are now on day 3 of her holiday & nothing. Her funds are dwindling on the essential items she has had to replace & she just wants to come home. My questions are: don't tui have a duty of care towards my daughter to help towards purchasing essential items? and, are they really not liable once the baggage has left the carousel in the airport?
Gigi - 10-Jun-18 @ 11:55 AM
Banty - Your Question:
My luggage was delayed at Manchester airport through klm airlines, so it was supposed to be delivered to my home address. To cut a long story short I was told my baggage was stolen along with the delivery van and three other bags. The airline has offered me £1,166. My £1,500 camera drone was in my bag along with other expensive possessions. They are saying this is the maximum amount for lost or delayed luggage, does this amount apply for stolen property? And do I have any other options to claim the rightful value of my property?

Our Response:
Yes airlines have maximum amounts that they pay for lost/stolen luggage. If you have items of high value, you should include these on your travel insurance and make sure the policy covers lost baggage.
YourTravelRights - 16-May-18 @ 10:48 AM
My luggage was delayed at Manchester airport through klm airlines, so it was supposed to be delivered to my home address. To cut a long story short I was told my baggage was stolen along with the delivery van and three other bags. The airline has offered me £1,166. My £1,500 camera drone was in my bag along with other expensive possessions. They are saying this is the maximum amount for lost or delayed luggage, does this amount apply for stolen property? And do I have any other options to claim the rightful value of my property?
Banty - 14-May-18 @ 5:54 PM
Ollie - Your Question:
My bags were delayed by China Southern Airlines on the 18th December 2017 flying to Melbourne from London Heathrow. I flew back into London Heathrow on the 29th December 2017 and my bags only arrived by back to my home address by 10th January 2018, being delayed for a total of 24 days.I filed a lost baggage report at Melbourne airport on the 18th December 2017 (which was actually filed wrong) so when flying back on the 28th December 2017 I had to re-report my baggage to Dnata baggage services where I was provided with $50AUD to cover expenses at the airport. China Southern Airlines correspondence has been terrible, and only now am I in regular communications with a representative from Melbourne Airport. Due to the loss of my luggage, I had to incur a number of expenses to complete my trip and subsequently when I arrived back home as I was headed straight to work from landing. Initially China Southern Airlines were trying to state that the $50AUD is the only compensation they are entitled to give me by their company policy. Since then, after countless emails battling my case, they have increased the offer to $100AUD which is still nowhere near the amount to cover the delay of my luggage and subsequent expenses incurred.I have responded saying that the new $100AUD offering is not enough. Any help from here would be much appreciated, namely, what are my rights in this situation etc.Many thanksOllie

Our Response:
Unfortunately UK law will not apply here, so you may have pursue it via the courts in Australia or China depending on which organisation you are claiming from. Your travel insurer might also be able to help.
YourTravelRights - 31-Jan-18 @ 11:50 AM
My bags were delayed by China Southern Airlines on the 18th December 2017 flying to Melbourne from London Heathrow. I flew back into London Heathrow on the 29th December 2017 and my bags only arrived by back to my home address by 10th January 2018, being delayed for a total of 24 days. I filed a lost baggage report at Melbourne airport on the 18th December 2017 (which was actually filed wrong) so when flying back on the 28th December 2017 I had to re-report my baggage to Dnata baggage services where I was provided with $50AUD to cover expenses at the airport. China Southern Airlines correspondence has been terrible, and only now am I in regular communications with a representative from Melbourne Airport. Due to the loss of my luggage, I had to incur a number of expenses to complete my trip and subsequently when I arrived back home as I was headed straight to work from landing. Initially China Southern Airlines were trying to state that the $50AUD is the only compensation they are entitled to give me by their company policy. Since then, after countless emails battling my case, they have increased the offer to $100AUD which is still nowhere near the amount to cover the delay of my luggage and subsequent expenses incurred. I have responded saying that the new $100AUD offering is not enough. Any help from here would be much appreciated, namely, what are my rights in this situation etc. Many thanks Ollie
Ollie - 30-Jan-18 @ 9:02 AM
Hi- In Munich for Christmas and New Years - bags were lost and then found and delivery 7 days later - How do I get compensation from KLM for all of the essiential items purchased within those 7 days? I kept all of the receipts- thanks Tracey
Trace - 29-Dec-17 @ 6:06 PM
I realiized that I forgot 1 luggage at jeddah airport when i reached my hotel.had clothes 4 me ,husband n my kids in that suitcase.already called jeddah airport 3 times.wen i call they said that thay got the luggage but asking me to come tKe it.but its impossible 4 me to go back to jedda as i will move to madina soon.i made a humble request if they can send it to my hotel.still waiting....
honey - 19-Nov-17 @ 11:30 AM
Hi! I flew from Dhaka to London on last 18 September by Emirates airlines. I checked in 2 baggage at Dhaka airport. When I reached Heathrow one of my baggage was missing in the belt. When finally I confirmed my bag is missing I immediately lodged a complain to the duty officer at Emirates counter. They took my complain, gave me a letter and assure me if the bag is lost they will compensate me. Then, gradually I filled up a form containing details of my bag, vouchers etc. After 1 month customer service emailed me that they delivered the bag at Dhaka and they will not compensate me. I immediately replied that I was traveling to London and I also lodged the complain there at the incident night but after2 week they replied that their response is same. They not even interested to explain it that why they delivered it to Dhaka? Their response pattern indicating me that they are not giving my complain any value and not even explaining anything. Now, can you suggest me what can I do next?
Pavel - 17-Nov-17 @ 5:14 PM
Reni - Your Question:
My bag is missing my valuable documents that leagues.over 2dayes lost my certificate then I don't get job.my situation is very very bad.my first flight experience is very horrible. Wht do l don't now.pls help me

Our Response:
Inform the airline about your lost bag...it may turn up. If it doesn't you will be entitled to compensation. Inform the relevant authorities (that issued your certificate), that your certificate is lost and that you would like a replacement as soon as possible.
YourTravelRights - 6-Nov-17 @ 11:08 AM
My bag is missing my valuable documents that leagues.over 2dayes lost my certificate then I don't get job .my situation is very very bad.my first flight experience is very horrible. Wht do l don't now .pls help me
Reni - 4-Nov-17 @ 2:57 AM
dick - Your Question:
I applied for compensation to buy items, then the luggage arrived (48 later) can I return the unused item to the shop and keep the compensation?

Our Response:
There's nothing specific that covers this. The airline will most likely not know that you've returned the unused item anyway.
YourTravelRights - 20-Oct-17 @ 2:35 PM
I applied for compensation to buy items, then the luggage arrived (48 later) can i return the unused item to the shop and keep the compensation?
dick - 20-Oct-17 @ 12:28 PM
alisonm_85 - Your Question:
My parents have just returned from a Thomson's cruise. Ship left from North Shields and their last stop was Malaga fromthere they flew into Glasgow. As procedure they left their cases outside their cabin at 2pm from there they were taken to the airport, collected and then out onto the flight. On returning home they have discovered all of their holiday purchases, perfum, booze, cigs have been stolen from their case. Are Thomson's liable for the items stolen? They do have receipts. Thank you.

Our Response:
Possibly. Was there any sign that the case had been tampered with? Have they spoken to Thomson's? Is it possible the bag was checked at customs and the items removed?
YourTravelRights - 4-Oct-17 @ 10:08 AM
My parents have just returned from a Thomson's cruise. Ship left from North Shields and their last stop was Malaga from there they flew into Glasgow. As procedure they left their cases outside their cabin at 2pm from there they were taken to the airport, collected and then out onto the flight. On returning home they have discovered all of their holiday purchases, perfum, booze, cigs have been stolen from their case. Are Thomson's liable for the items stolen? They do have receipts. Thank you.
alisonm_85 - 2-Oct-17 @ 6:35 PM
Mummy C - Your Question:
Son and daughter in law on honeymoon. Luggage delayed for 12 hours then a courier was arranged to take it to their hotel within 24 hours. 5 days later no luggage. KLM courier had taken it to the wrong hotel then returned it to the airport without contacting any of the contact numbers. Cases were labelled with the correct address. 14 days later case were at the airport. KLM constantly lied about trying to reunite them on 4 attempts. Only offered £60 compensation for ruined honeymoon. Would never give a figure on what could be spent on essentials. Only £100 spent each. All conversations have been emailed. Has anyone got any advise

Our Response:
If you are not happy with the response or the amount of compensation that KLM has offered you need to follow certain steps as advised by the Civil Aviation Authority Here
YourTravelRights - 27-Sep-17 @ 10:19 AM
Son and daughter in law on honeymoon. Luggage delayed for 12 hours then a courier was arranged to take it to their hotel within 24 hours. 5 days later no luggage. KLM courier had taken it to the wrong hotel then returned it to the airport without contacting any of the contact numbers. Cases were labelled with the correct address. 14 days later case were at the airport. KLM constantly lied about trying to reunite them on 4 attempts. Only offered £60 compensation for ruined honeymoon. Would never give a figure on what could be spent on essentials. Only £100 spent each. All conversations have been emailed. Has anyone got any advise
Mummy C - 26-Sep-17 @ 8:20 PM
Sean - Your Question:
I lost my luggage when I arrived at Glasgow airport from Heathrow on June 30 it was all reported we money buying new cloths for a special occasion we were going to ba paid us the money we spent July 5 had message saying case had been found waited nothing rang them ba said it hadn't been found same thing again 2 more times eventually on July 30 I received my case back can I claim compensation

Our Response:
You were paid for the cost of replacement outfits, what other losses have you experienced? Write the company asking them whether they are prepared to compensate you further.
YourTravelRights - 12-Sep-17 @ 2:09 PM
I lost my luggage when I arrived at Glasgow airport from Heathrow on June 30 it was all reported we money buying new cloths for a special occasion we were going to ba paid us the money we spent July 5 had message saying case had been found waited nothing rang them ba said it hadn't been found same thing again 2 more times eventually on July 30 I received my case back can I claim compensation
Sean - 11-Sep-17 @ 3:36 PM
Hi, yesterday I arrived at Suriname airport JAP on flight KL 713 and accidentally left my neckpillow on the seat .Or maybe it fell of the seat.When I was down and followed the line I told an employee and he referred me to Lost and found. But they said they haven't found it. It is not a big loss but as it is my son's pillow I would be glad to get it back for him.Greetings
Juffie - 10-Sep-17 @ 9:06 AM
I had a bag collected on 7th June by a baggage transfer company to be delivered by the 14th when I arreived at my destination. It is 12 days later and I have no bag,here 6 days and had to buy clothes shoes etc.It has ruined my holiday so far,I am very stressed and have told them I will be taking legal action. The transfer company is passing the buck to the handlers and vice versa but both say I am entitled to nothing.This happened before when I was going to a wedding and the airline company settled when I threatened court action. What do you think? 5am
5am - 19-Jul-17 @ 7:26 AM
Hy I need help if you can please i have been to back home in india Mumbai to visit family who is sick for2 weeks but not take travel insurance these time as i rush to go I fly with emirates while coming back My backpack was empty Actually when we came in mumbai airport we were late as due to Mansoon heavy rain Our weight allowance was 30 per person and we were two me and my Aunt so 60 kg but we had less wait we have been told by check in person leave your backpack ( Laptop) on Hold luggageit will be easier to run to your gate as we were late we were rushing to gate we accept it but forgotten to taken are stuff back as my Aunt doesn't have her own ladies bag everything was in backpack , Purse , card etc when we came in Gatwick aiport the zip was open and when we check as we need money for taxi the bag was nearly empty we lose 600 Pound , plus 5000INR Rupees plus lots of Coin plus Pen bunch as gift for kidsall Card Credit and Debit plus Barclay Card Reader In the airport we straight away complaint to baggage lost property and i got ref no LGWEK22935 These was happen on3July i was so upset i gone straight to check in counter to emirates to ask help they were rude and ruthless no response telling me to contact customer affair When gone home ask them for help he put on me your responible we cannot do anything right a mail online feedback as complaint we look on it I said ok , mean while i call the aiport people of emirates and spoken to manager he was too rude and said you are member i said yes he ask me Card , which card you holding i was thinking customer has been talk through Card higher the card more value , normal person has not value i got respone from emirates mentioning me Dear Mr Barad, LON/X/CAL/060717/7256326 Thank you for your recent correspondence. The events that you have described are being looked into and one of our Customer Affairs Officers will write to you once our review is complete. The review itself may involve a number of operational departments, and possibly third-party providers, therefore our response to you may take up to 30 days. Please be assured that we will do all possible to reply inside 30 days. In any future correspondence with us, please quote the above reference. Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write to us. Yours sincerely, Cristina Scalzi Customer Affairs UK & Ireland Emirates Airline i am still waiting but my whole family was shock and scared to travel to emirates no information was given in mumbai airport to take it out valuable item i do not know whether i will get my money or not but i need justice Please can you help me where should i go to whom to fight with emirate can i get justice Can i get my money back waiting for reply Pls do reply jas
jas - 19-Jul-17 @ 12:23 AM
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