Airline Lost Luggage? Tips and Tricks

Through my travels, I have fortunate enough to land at my destination with my luggage sitting there and waiting for me. That is, up until 2 weeks ago. I have probably flown over 200,000 miles to date so I know I’ve been lucky… But in the last two weeks, United Airlines failed to get my luggage to the appropriate destination. In two weeks, I’ve flewn UA two times… and both times, you’ve made a mistake. Shame on you. I should say, the first time that they lost my luggage, they did give me a $150 one-way travel certificate, which is nice, but doesn’t cover even a fourth of what I paid for.

Both times, I needed my luggage for a presentation. If I could, I would have carried it on, due to size constraints, I have no choice but to check it.

Here are some tips and tricks for my reference and yours:

Before flying

  • Place name tags both on the exterior and interior of your luggage so someone may identify.
  • Create a marker on the exterior of your luggage. This could be something simple tying a bright neon ribbon on the handle. This way you can distinguish your bag from anyone else’s.
  • If at all possible, book a direct flight. The most common reason for lost luggage is airport workers are not able to load the bag on the flight you’re on, on-time.
  • Take photos of the materials you are packing, itemize your belongings (if they have a lot of value), keep receipts of these items. If on the slight, your luggage is lost, you have all of the necessary information for a claim. Your organization will be critical at this time.
  • Pack a one to two day supply of necessities in your carry-on, just in case your checked bag does not make it.
  • Remove any tags that were previously attached to your bag from earlier flights. I know, laziness commands you to not do this, but sometimes old tags can be the reason for your luggage to get “lost.”
  • When checking your bag, confirm with the attendant that the bag is intended for the destination you need it at. Depending on your flight itinerary, sometimes they ship it to ┬áthe incorrect destination.

After flying

Well, if you’ve made it this far, I can only assume your baggage was lost.

  • File a claim at the airport. Make sure you have your baggage tag. Don’t throw it away. Log everything you discuss with the agent working at the baggage claim, including names, case numbers, phone numbers, and the time you reported the claim.
  • After you have received your luggage, file a complaint to the airlines in a respectful, non-belligerent way. Show that you’re frustrated, but acknowledge that the person handling the claim is not the person responsible for losing your luggage. Many times, if you are courteous, they will compensate you in the form of mileage or a travel certificate.
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