Airports are a busy place, both for travelers and the people who work there. It is no wonder that someone’s luggage occasionally gets lost during travel, despite the best planning and on-time arrival with the help of ground shuttle services to ensure an easy check-in. Some people might not know what to do when they reach their destination, ready to meet their pick up airport shuttle, and their luggage does not come down the conveyor at baggage claim. Following are a few tips to use in making airlines aware of the problem and starting the process that should result in speedy location of lost luggage.

Report Lost Luggage at Baggage Claim

When a flight’s baggage comes down the conveyor and it becomes obvious something is missing, travelers should immediately report this at the baggage claim office. Baggage claim officials will search to ensure that the bag is not just on the wrong carousel or misplaced, and then make a lost bag report. Travelers should get a copy of this report, as well as a contact phone number to call back to see if the bag has shown up.

File A Claim with Airline

After filing the report with baggage claim, travelers should immediately contact their airline and file a claim for the lost bag. Do not wait to see if it shows up – file the claim immediately with the airline on which the flight was booked. Check on claim limits and any other details that will affect the compensation received should the bag not be found and the airline must reimburse you for the value of your luggage and its contents. It can take up to three months for an airline to compensate for lost luggage, so getting the process started as quickly as possible is imperative.

Negotiating Claims and Compensation

Airlines usually print on their tickets the maximum amount that will be covered in the event a bag becomes lost or stolen. It is important to realize that this maximum amount does not mean travelers will automatically be awarded what they consider to be a fair price for missing items. Travelers sometimes have a better chance at fairer compensation if they have a list of the items that were in the missing bag, as well as some photos of the items during packing, and photos of the packed bag itself. This can be useful not only for identification, but also for proving what was in the case. Airlines will also refund any bag fees paid, although travelers must ask for this. Some airlines will also pay for rental of replacement items, like sports equipment, in the event that it was lost while traveling and rentals were necessary.

When arriving at the airport after a long flight and looking forward to resting while traveling in pick up airport shuttles, the last thing anyone wants to deal with is lost luggage. Bags that are missing should be reported to the baggage claim office immediately to initiate the process of getting the bag back. Since it is usually necessary to wait a day or two for baggage claim to track down a missing bag, stay calm, meet scheduled ground shuttle services, and try to make the best of the trip. The good news is that most lost bags show up by the next day, having apparently taken the scenic route on a different flight!

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