What to do if luggage is lost?

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What to do upon arrival

If you travel infrequently, follow fellow travelers so as not to deviate from the «route». At the end of the flight, you must go to the terminal building for border control, after passing it, move to the conveyor belts. Near each of them there is a board with the number of the arrived flight, from which the things of air travelers arrive on the conveyor belt (this information is duplicated on the luggage tag). Passengers need to make sure that they are waiting for them at the right tape.

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If luggage is lost

So, the travel bags were dismantled, but yours never appeared — what to do? The sequence of actions is as follows: find the Lost & Found counter on the territory of the airport terminal (it is usually located not far from the issuing tapes), fill out a standard application form, indicating your contacts, and wait for a call.

It is important to fill out the questionnaire in as much detail as possible, describe your bags in detail, by which the staff will be able to easily and quickly distinguish them from other property of a similar color and size. If there is no Lost & Found counter, please contact your airline representative. According to international law, the responsibility for the safety of property lies with the air carrier that loaded it onto the liner.

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What information to include in the application

At the counter, owners of lost items are offered to fill out a standard form, describe the appearance of the suitcases (shape, size, color — you can navigate by the proposed pictures), as well as features and characteristic differences. Here you also need to specify information about the content, describing in detail several things that are inside.

Also, in the application, you should indicate the surname and name indicated on the ticket, detailed information about contacts, information about the flight and route, data from the luggage tag (from the sticker on the boarding pass).

One copy of the application remains with the airport employee, the second is given to the owner of the lost bags. It contains an identification number to track the status of the search online. It must be entered in a special field on the official website of the airline responsible for the incident, or on the World Tracer website. If there is no call from Lost & Found for several days, you should call there yourself.

Reasons for loss

Most often, the property does not have time to get to its destination on time due to lack of time. Short docking, lasting about an hour, is the main reason that loaders do not have time to unload it from one side and load it onto another.

It happens that a luggage tag has fallen off the bag, attached not securely enough, and this is the most unpleasant case. An “impersonal” thing is the most difficult to identify, but this task is also solvable, it just takes more time. Sometimes loaders mistakenly throw bags on the wrong cart, and they end up in the Netherlands instead of the UK. The passenger is sometimes to blame: he is waiting at the wrong tape, or another traveler accidentally takes someone else’s suitcase.

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How are the searches

Each major airport is connected to an international search system. Information from all incoming applications falls into a common database. Once a match is found with the requested information, Lost & Found service personnel determine the location of the property and the time required to arrive at the correct airport. Things are sent by one of the next flights, the owner is notified about this. If the passenger is more satisfied with the delivery of suitcases to their home at the expense of the airline, this information must be indicated in the questionnaire. Otherwise, they will have to come to the airport on their own.

Reimbursement for lost property

If the items cannot be found within three weeks, the passenger has the right to claim compensation. The limitation period for a claim is two years from the date of registration of the claim of loss. The amount of compensation depends on the air carrier, or rather, on which convention its country is in — Warsaw or Montreal. In the first case, the injured person is reimbursed 17 USD per kilogram, in the second case – 1200 € per piece of baggage (at the current exchange rate of the airline on the day the compensation is paid).

Russian air carriers pay compensation under the Warsaw Convention. A passenger who is not satisfied with the amount of the proposed compensation can challenge it in court, providing evidence of a higher value of the lost property. Therefore, owners of high-value items should carefully keep their boarding pass and a second copy of their Lost & Found application throughout the tracing process.

What other expenses can the airline reimburse?

Imagine the situation: you flew to a seaside resort or an international symposium, and things were delayed on the way. Buying essentials such as soap, shaving supplies, or a suit for formal occasions cannot be put off “until later.” It is necessary to keep all checks, and on them to claim involuntary expenses from the airline.

Often luggage is returned to its owner damaged or incomplete. For partial theft or breakage, compensation is also provided, the amount of which depends on the airline.

How to reduce the risk of losing your suitcases

Simple precautions will help, if not avoid, then minimize the likelihood of loss.

  • Make it a habit to keep receipts for purchased travel bags and expensive items that you can potentially take with you on a trip.
  • Do not leave luggage tags from past travels on your suitcases. They can cause erroneous results in automatic scanning and sorting.
  • A name tag with the owner’s contact information (in English) will serve as a more productive search.
  • When checking in luggage, it would be useful to personally check the information printed on the tag.
  • If the flight includes transfers, you need to clarify at the very first check-in where exactly you will receive your suitcases.
  • When choosing travel bags in a store, you should give preference to noticeable products of bright colors, non-standard shapes, which are easier to identify.
  • Do not neglect luggage insurance, which allows you to partially or completely reimburse the cost of expensive items in the event of an insured event.

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