Photo by  Spencer Wing  on  Pixabay

Photo by Spencer Wing on Pixabay

Based on a recent SITA study, about 5.73 out of every 1000 bags are mishandled, 5% of these bags end up lost for good and the majority the mishandling is due to last-minute check-in or short connections. No matter what precautions you take, you might be that unlucky traveller at some point in your life, who will experience the inconvenience of delayed or lost luggage. Here’s what to do, should that ever happen to you.  


Before Boarding

  • Get a travel insurance

    Ask your insurance provider if your coverage includes baggage loss. If it does, ask for the procedure in case you need to make a claim. If it doesn’t, ask how much it costs and evaluate whether you want to buy this extra or not. Your credit card might offer you this protection for free.

  • Put your contact information on your baggage

    Both home and destination contact, clearly identified, so you can be easily reached if needed.

  • Always bring a carry on with essentials

    This includes all of your valuable belongings, an extra pair of underwear and change of clothes, a toothbrush and tiny tube of toothpaste, medication, contact lenses containers if needed and your phone/tablet charger. Basically imagine what you’ll need if you had to spend a couple days without your baggage, as it can be the case if it gets mishandled. If it ends up truly lost, you’ll eventually get refunded for your missing items, but you’ll want to have a change of clothes and some basic hygiene until then.

  • Make Sure Your Bag Will Be Handled Between Each Flight

    Ask the airline agents if your baggage will make it through the connections or if you have to pick it up in between flights. Most of the time you won’t have to worry about it, but there are some situations where you have to retrieve your bag and check it in again.

Photo by  Jira  on  rawpixel

Photo by Jira on rawpixel

When You Get Off the Plane

  • Head to the carousel as soon as possible

    if your bag is reported being delivered by the airline but is missing on the carousel, they won’t be held responsible for the loss. So to reduce your risk of your bag getting stolen, head straight for the carousel after landing.

  • If you can’t find your luggage, find the airline’s customer service kiosk

    First, you need to stay calm. No matter how nerve wrecking the situation may be, getting mad at the airline’s agents won’t help you at all as it is not their fault your baggage ended up lost or delayed. In fact, a rude attitude might lower their empathy and willingness to help you. Find the kiosk right away, don’t leave the airport, and detail the situation. What flights you took, what airlines operated them, what your luggage looks like… Provide any info you have that might come handy! You’ll have to fill out a Property irregularity report. Write everything down (case number, name of the agent, time of the conversation, customer service phone number, etc.)

  • Ask Questions

    Ask what the carrier is willing to reimburse. In theory, they are obligated to compensate any ‘’reasonable’’ incurred expenses until they recover your luggage. The definition of reasonable is vague and vary depending on the situation, destination and airline, but if you need to buy specific items before they return your bag (formal attire for a wedding, equipment for a sports event, etc.) discuss it with the customer service agent and keep your receipts. Request that they deliver your bag to your hotel or home directly so you don’t have to go back to the airport. Ask if there is an online tracking system available for you to stay updated of any further development about your baggage.

If Your Luggage Is Actually Lost

  • Filling a claim

    Good news is that it is quite rare that luggage is actually lost. Bad news is that luggage is considered lost 21 days after the mishandling file was claimed, which means you might have time to go back home before the matter is solved. Under Canadian Air Passenger Protection, you can receive up to $2,100 for your lost luggage. You’ll have to provide the list of items your suitcase contained and potentially original receipts.

Photo by  Ken Yam  on  Unsplash

Photo by Ken Yam on Unsplash