Tips to help you reunite with your lost or delayed luggage
Whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, there’s a chance that your checked luggage may be delayed, or worse, missing. In that unfortunate (and hopefully unlikely) event, the following tips can help increase the chances of getting your luggage in hand sooner rather than later.
Before your trip:
1. Place a tracking device in your checked luggage. AirTags (Apple devices), Tile Notes, (for Androids), and the like use Bluetooth technology to pinpoint your bag’s location. You then use the Find My app (Apple devices) or Google’s Find My Device (Android devices) to track the bag’s whereabouts.
2. Since many suitcases look alike, a luggage strap (or a brightly colored ribbon) can make for ready identification on the baggage carousel so that no one takes your bag inadvertently.
3. Label your bag inside and out with your name and phone number. In addition, add a card inside with the address of your first destination.
4. Know what you’ve packed so that you can describe the contents of your luggage should you need to make a claim.
5. Do not pack valuables, medication, travel documents, chargers, or anything you can’t be without in your checked luggage. These belong with you in your carry-on.
6. Pack a change of clothes and some toiletries in your carry-on so that you’ll be able to freshen up if your bag is delayed.
7. Download your airline’s app before you head to the airport so you’ll have ready access to track the delivery of your bags.
At the airport:
The baggage carousel goes ‘round and ‘round – and your bag is not on it. What do you do?
1. Proceed immediately to the airport’s baggage customer service office to file a lost luggage report. You will need your ID and baggage claim ticket, as well as the address of where you’ll be staying (this would be the first hotel if you’re on tour with us).
2. Do not leave the airport without filing this report.
3. Obtain a copy of the report and a phone number you can call for updates (not the airline’s reservation number). Also, be sure you can access the airline’s app on your phone or tablet so you can track the progress of your bag’s recovery on line.
4. Request reimbursement if you paid a checked bag fee.
5. Request an overnight kit from the airline.*
6. Ask for an allowance for reasonable expenses.*
*Please note that your airline may not offer this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
After leaving the airport:
1. Track the progress of the search for your bag online: you will need the baggage tag number (from your lost luggage claim) and the confirmation or reference number.
2. When the bag is found, ask that it be delivered to you without charge; you should not have to pay or return to the airport to claim it.
3. Upon receipt, check your bag for any damage, as well as for any missing items.
4. Check whether your travel protection policy or credit card company covers purchases you had to make while your luggage was delayed (or if it is lost permanently). Keep the receipts for any purchases you need to make (e.g. toiletries, clothing).
5. Finally, it’s helpful to know that according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, “airlines are required to compensate passengers if their bags are damaged, delayed, or lost.”