Sometimes, on your way to visit one of the top holiday destinations in your travel plans, you just need to check in your luggage. Perhaps you are going on a long trip, and a backpack just won’t cut it; your trip necessitates a lot of things you need to bring. Perhaps your children are going with you, and you need to put some of their stuff in your luggage. Perhaps you are carrying a lot of goodies to give to your relatives abroad. Or simply, you just can’t live without your teddy bears, gadgets, and other stuff that, together with your travel essentials, cannot possibly fit in your backpack. Never mind the extra cost; you need to check in your heavy and large bags.
Normally, you get your luggage in one piece when you arrive in your destination. But sometimes, airlines do accidentally lose your stuff. With the hectic activity in the airport, baggage handlers can sometimes misplace bags and put them on a different plane headed for another destination! Sometimes, the passenger’s luggage is left in the handling area, not being loaded to the airplane at all. There are also times when one’s baggage is mistaken for someone else as it goes along the baggage carousel at the destination’s airport. And there are times when the loss is simply inexplicable.
For you, as a passenger, it is a terrible headache, a horrible inconvenience, and an extreme test of patience to discover, file a complaint, trace, and re-acquire lost baggage. But you have to face that possibility if you are checking in your baggage.
If your luggage does get lost, don’t panic. Here are some pointers to keep in mind.
* Know that as a passenger, you have certain rights. If 24 hours has passed after filing a report of loss luggage, airlines usually reimburse you for toiletries and some clothing. Take note though that how much is reimbursed to you depends on your frequent flier status and the class of service you bought. And keep the receipts of your purchases.
* Many major airlines have a policy called excess valuation, but this is only privy to counter agents and other high ranking executives. Travel agents and reservations usually have no knowledge about this. When you check in your bag, ask for excess valuation. This gives you up to USD 5,000 of extra coverage.
* Take photos of your bags and their contents before checking them in. If you lose things inside your luggage when you receive them and you file a complaint to the airline, it would be your word against theirs. Thus, secure yourself by taking photos of what you’re bringing.
* After filing a claim of lost baggage, make sure you get a phone number (usually a 1-800 number) in which you can call to follow them up. Also get the number of the office where you filed the complaint and the name of the agent who helped you. You would need this information when you follow up the airline.
* If your luggage is lost for good, your airline is only required to reimburse you around USD 2,800 per incident, and not per bag. Note too that they do not reimburse you for electronics, documents, furs, and jewellery.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy budget holiday packages or airline tickets due to the danger of lost luggage. Remember that this is a rare occurrence, and most likely, you’ll get your all your bags safe and sound when you arrive at your destination.