If your bag is lost, you need to report it immediately. You have a better chance of getting it back if you do this as soon as possible.
If you wait too long, there may be no record of your lost luggage, or the airline may not be able to help you after a long time has passed. Here’s what to do if your baggage is lost.
Report the problem to the airline immediately
To begin, you must report the problem to the airline immediately. This is a crucial step. Airlines have 24 hours to respond after your claim has been submitted, and if they don’t, then you can consider them in violation of their policies.
Reporting issues early also gives them time to start looking for lost luggage before it’s too late—and some airlines may be more willing than others to help in this department (see below).
If you wait too long before reporting a problem, they’ll likely tell you that they’ve already given up on finding it and should probably just cut their losses.
Make the report in person at the airport
- Take the time to make a report in person, even if you’re feeling frustrated and exhausted.
- Ensure your flight is registered with the airline so they know where to find your luggage.
- Be friendly, but not too friendly. Don’t be rude or aggressive. Don’t give up hope or act like everything’s fine when it’s not; don’t get emotional or angry—if you do these things, they’ll slow down the process of getting your bag back.
If you notice missing luggage after you’ve left the airport, report it within 24 hours
If you notice your luggage is missing after leaving the airport, report it to the airline as soon as possible. Your best bet for recovering your lost luggage is to file a claim with the airline or its baggage handling company quickly. You should also report it to the airport police or security if possible.
If there’s any hope of recovering your bag, you’ll need proof that it was lost and not just misplaced by an overworked ground crew member. Getting someone on record stating that they saw your luggage being unloaded on arrival or had another direct contact with it will help you prove later that it was indeed missing when everyone else thought all was well!
Retain all receipts that relate to your baggage trouble
When your bag is lost, it’s essential to keep receipts that relate to your troubles. You may need these receipts to file a claim later on. For example, in the case of lost luggage, you’ll want proof that you paid for your checked baggage (and any additional charges, like excess weight fees).
If you don’t have a safe place for all those precious papers, put them in a plastic bag and stow them somewhere dry—like under the seat in front of you or inside the lining of your carry-on bag.
Don’t throw away the receipts! And try not to put them in your checked luggage; it could get lost too.
Don’t assume your bag will turn up
It’s important to get in the habit of checking your bags immediately after you get off the plane. You should also ensure that they are closed and secure and have a lock on them. If something happens to your bag, report it immediately to airline staff in person (not via phone). This is even more important if your flight is delayed or canceled.
Remember: It’s better to report an incident with your baggage as soon as possible—this way, they can start looking into it while they’re still fresh in their mind. Keep all receipts from hotels and clothing stores until you know where your luggage is!
If ever there were times when calling credit card companies was warranted, this would be it! If delays or damage caused by lost luggage occur during travel, give us a call so we can help with any claims forms or paperwork needed by airlines for reimbursement purposes.*
Call your credit card company
If your baggage is lost, it’s important to call the airline as soon as possible. Suppose you don’t have a credit card but would like one temporarily while waiting to replace your lost or stolen card.
In that case, some banks will issue temporary cards without identification and with emergency cash available.
If you need such services and cannot get them from your bank immediately, try calling another bank in town that may offer similar benefits. They might even be able to send over a courier with an ATM card until they can issue one in person later on!
If someone else stole your credit card number or altered their information so they could make purchases using yours (which happens more often than people think), ask yourself these questions:
Where did they buy those items? How much money did they spend? Who paid for it? What kind of merchandise did they purchase? Were any unusual charges made (e.g., $1 million for groceries)?
It would help if you were proactive about reporting lost luggage
You’ll want to be prepared for your luggage being lost, but that doesn’t mean you should wait for it. If you’re able to, be sure to bring along a copy of the receipt for your baggage and its delivery address.
This can help prove that you were the one who lost the luggage in case it’s later located (but not necessarily returned).
If anything happens during your trip that gives reason for suspicion about how or when some items left their possession, make sure someone else knows where they were last seen.
The key is to be proactive. You must report the lost luggage immediately before it becomes too late. Don’t assume the airline will take care of everything for you. Sometimes, it can take weeks or months for a bag to turn up!
The best thing to do is call your credit card company immediately and tell them about any missing items so they can help minimize any damage from fraudsters who may try stealing cash from your account. Check out our other travel tips to maximize your traveling experiences!