On a recent flight to Chicago, my husband was awaiting the arrival of our luggage at the baggage claim area. After successfully spotting our two large suitcases and pulling them off the carousel, he immediately realized one of the wheels was missing and in its place a large gaping, tattered hole. We headed to the airline office where the employee informed us that their policy was only to compensate damages to contents inside of the luggage. After further discussion, the employee kindly offered us a travel voucher for our inconvenience. Not all airlines will handle the same situation the same way so we were very fortunate plus it helped our case to speak with a calm presence.
Here are some tips on what to do if your luggage is damaged as well as how to avoid.
Tip #1: If luggage is damaged, always check with an airline employee instead of assuming it’s your loss. Keep a cool head and you may possibly be given travel vouchers as compensation.
Tip #2: According to USA Today Travel, “Damage complaints must be made within 24 hours for U.S. domestic flights and within seven days for international flights.” Take care of the problem as soon as you discover it. Examine your luggage before you leave the airport as a precautionary step.
Tip #3: If you don’t realize your luggage is damaged until you have left the airport, take a photo of the damage. You will have to return to the airport to report the damage, but this way you do not have to physically bring the damaged luggage with you.
Tip #4: Do not fill your suitcase to the brim. Overstuffed suitcases are more susceptible to damage. Don’t max out at the weight limit. Give yourself a 3-5 pound leeway to be safe so that your luggage arrives as you’ve intended.
Tip #5: Always examine your luggage prior to any trip. Make sure nothing is loose, hanging or in need of repair.
Here are some tips on what to do if your luggage is lost as well as how to avoid.
On another recent business trip my husband took, he missed his connecting flight due to mechanical problems with the plane from his original departure. Once he arrived at his final destination, you guessed it, his luggage was no where to be found. Waiting outside the airline office for the employee to return, another passenger asked if he was looking for lost luggage and told him to look in a particular unattended room where a number of suitcases were stored. Sure enough, he found his luggage. Not all cases end this satisfactory. 5 tips to keep in mind:
Tip #1: To avoid lost luggage, the number one advice is to book direct flights. The percentage goes way up for lost luggage when you have a connecting flight.
Tip #2: Always check in at the airport with plenty of time to spare. Don’t arrive to close to the cutoff time or your luggage may or may not make it on your flight. Most airlines require passengers to check luggage 30 minutes prior to your departure. Try to arrive no later than 45 minutes to give your luggage the best shot at arriving with you.
Tip #3: Keep your baggage claim ticket in a safe place. This is the number one thing you will need to file a claim for lost luggage. Airline representatives will ask for this information to file a claim.
Tip #4: If you bought travel insurance, contact your provider. Give them detailed information so they can pursue the claim in your best interest. If you did not, you can handle the issue just as easily. Make sure to know your rights. To find out current liability limits, go to http:airconsumer.dot.gov.
Tip #5: Clearly identify your luggage. Today there are all kinds of luggage tags that are unique and colorful to give your luggage a personal touch making it is to spot on the carousel. Make sure you stand as close to where the luggage comes out to assure you (and not someone else) grabs your bags. Also include a identification card inside your luggage with your itinerary and contact information.
Having damaged and lost luggage can put a damper on an otherwise fun vacation but knowing how to handle the situation in advance can be helpful.