It’s part of checking in for a flight. You drop you bag off at a ticket counter and you hope you see it at your destination. Usually you do. Sometimes, you don’t.
According to the SITA 2019 Baggage IT Insights report, in 2018, airlines mishandled 5.69 bags per thousand passengers, which is pretty good. Tracking bags at key points like check-in, loading on to an aircraft, at transfer points, and when offloading at a passenger’s destination has helped to reduce the rate of mishandled luggage. Yet, it still happens.
Before you leave from your trip, there are some things you can do in case your luggage ends up MIA.
- Take a photo of your suitcase. It will help you describe if it gets lost.
- Before you put your clothes and other items in your suitcase, take a photo of them. The photos will help you make a list of contents if your bag is lost and will provide some proof of what was in it.
- Pack the things you cannot live without in your carryon. I have a favorite pair of sandals and I would be devastated if I lost them. They always travel with me in my carryon bag.
- Many bags look alike, so put something on the bag that is unique, especially if it is black. This could be a pom-pom, luggage tag, a handle, something.
I admit, I need to get better at taking my own advice on these things. I don’t always do them, and recently when my luggage was misplaced, I was kicking myself.
I’ve had the sinking feeling when the luggage belt stops and your suitcase isn’t on it. If it happens, stay calm and don’t leave the airport.
Your first stop is your airline’s baggage office. Try to stay nice. They aren’t the ones who mishandled your bag. These helpful people will ask for a few things:
- Your claim check so they can see where your bag was last scanned.
- A description of your suitcase.
- Your phone number and address where you will be staying so a delivery service can bring you your bag.
Ask for an overnight kit which often contains a toothbrush and toothpaste, a comb, deodorant, etc. Ask if your airline will reimburse you for any essentials you might need while you do not have your luggage.
The baggage office will file a claim and probably give you a number to call to check on the status of your luggage. Most luggage might have just missed a connection and finds its way back to you quickly. But be prepared, I once lost my luggage for eight days. It happens.
Do you have any advice for handling missing luggage?