How to Recover Lost Luggage From an Airport

Updated on February 22, 2018
Source

Make Your Luggage Stand out so You Don't Lose It!

I stood at the luggage carousel waiting for my bag; the only problem was that my luggage was not there. No amount of waiting would make the bag appear, and the weather only made it worse as I had a long commute ahead of me. As soon as I saw that there was no sign of my luggage appearing, I made my way to the customer service and baggage claim section of the airport. I listened as the agent helped the people in front of me.

Here are the questions that you will be asked if you lose a bag. We will work on preventing this from happening in a moment, but right now I want you to think about it in the way you would if you were at the airport.

Guest: "I would like to report a missing bag. It was not on the baggage carousel."

Agent: "Which flight were you on?"

Guest: "The one that just came in from New York."

Agent: "Flight number?"

Guest: "556"

Agent: "Can you describe the bag or bags that you lost?"

Guest: "Yes. It was a black suitcase, with silver zippers, wheels, and pockets in the front."

Agent: "Brand?"

Guest: "I don't know. Samsonite or something. I don't know."

Agent: "Hard side or soft side luggage?"

Guest: "Soft."

I could go on, but as you can see, there is more to knowing your bag than just knowing its color. You will also need to know its approximate size, maker, and contents.

When this happened to me, I decided that from then on I was going to always have the information about my checked bags and their contents. That way, if it ever happened again, it would be easier for the airlines to get my things back to me in a timely manner.

Here are the tips and tricks that have helped me to get my bag back, or even better, to never lose it in the first place.

  • Don't choose black or brown luggage, unless you have to for work. Choose colors and patterns. Grays, blues, and tans also count as popular choices. Choose colors that stand out.
  • Don't tie ribbons or scarves to handles. They can get caught while loading and unloading the plane, tearing up the suitcase, jerking the suitcase in the opposite direction, or causing your suitcase to be damaged because it gets stuck in something.
  • Mark every part of the suitcase with your identifying information. I tuck a business card and a pre-filled luggage tag into every single compartment and pocket as well as a copy of my ticket and flight information. When a suitcase was literally crushed in China, they were able to contact me from the business cards distributed everywhere.
  • Remove all prior bag tags and destination tags before you fly. It is not cool, it does not impress other travelers and it only increases the chances that your suitcase will be taking a fun trip without you.
  • Include on your luggage tags a way to reach you at all of the places you are going to, both to and from. You cannot predict on which side your bag will be lost at.
  • If you are a member of any frequent flyer club, write your member number on each luggage tag as well. Why? Because the airline will have your complete address and contact information attached to your frequent flyer number.
  • If you must travel with a black or other neutral suitcase, buy a bag strap. They come in bright colors, and you wrap it around the sides of the bag, making it easier to identify. It folds down small like a belt, so all you have to do is place it in your suitcase when you are done using it.
  • Get the phone number of someone at either end of your destination so that if there is a problem while you are in the air, it can be resolved easier.

Check Your Bags to Make Sure They Are Yours

The blue bag slid down the carousel, I was sure that it was mine. As it circled to me, I grabbed it and looked at the luggage tag. The wrong name was on my bag. Good thing I looked. Across the way, an older man was claiming my bag. I called after him, we switched bags and had a laugh. You may not be so lucky.

Choose a brightly colored luggage tag. A friend of mine has a photo of her pets laminated as her luggage tag. Just because you think that a certain bag is yours does not mean that it is. Always double check.

How to Recover Lost Baggage

When you get past the point of waiting for your bag and it does not arrive, you will need to find the customer service center that is located somewhere near baggage claim.
You will be asked the following information:

  • Your name
  • Flight information
  • Information about color/size/style/manufacturer of bag
  • Way to contact you
  • Description of bag/s lost (anything distinctive)
  • Contents of bag/s
  • If you have any medication in your bag, you will be asked what it is.

The agent who is helping you has been dealing with unpleasant people until now. Be understanding. Be kind. Have your information ready to go.

After you have made your claim, the agent will give you an approximate amount of time that it will take before you hear from them. They will give you a small slip of paper in some cases that will list off everything that they just told you. If they do not, ask if you can write down everything that was just told to you.

After you leave, you may get a call right away saying that your bag was found. It may not work that way. Variables such as weather and passenger load can affect how long it will take to get your bag to you.

If Your Bag Is Lost Forever

In the event that your bag is lost forever by the airline, then they will let you know what your options are and what your compensation will be. In the event that you are claiming expensive items as part of the lost items, you will be asked to prove that you owned these items prior to the flight. A receipt is helpful.

Travel insurance is something to consider if you are traveling with expensive items. Make sure that it covers lost luggage.

Damaged Luggage

You may get your luggage back and notice that it has been nicked, dented, torn, scuffed, or is dirty. If you contact the carrier, most of them will inform you that normal wear and tear of luggage is not covered by their policy of replacement.

In the event that your bag is damaged outside of these parameters, contact with the same customer service people in baggage claim will be able to provide help to you with filling out the needed forms and paperwork to reimburse you for your luggage.

New Technology for Bag Tracking

Recently, news agencies have released a GPS device that tells you everything about your bags' location and even beeps to let you know that the bag is close to you. Look up Luggage GPS online.

Damaged Contents

Sometimes, your luggage makes it to you, but your contents are damaged when you see them. You don't realize it until you are home. Best course of action is to contact the airline and see what they are willing to do to resolve this for you. In some cases, you may have recourse, and in others, none at all.

A woman next to me on a plane shared a story that when she opened her suitcase at home, the entire suitcase was filled with soapy water. She called the airline, they asked her if she packed shampoo. She said that she did, and they denied her claim. Be mindful of anything that you packed that could have caused damage as well as the airline.

About Me

I love writing articles, and I hope that this one on lost luggage was helpful to you. Happy travels!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

    Submit a Comment

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 

      5 years ago from Planet Earth

      Excellent advice! I've rarely lost my luggage (probably living on borrowed time there), but I've actually seen people try to walk off with the wrong bag at various places - innocently, due to similar colors and failing to look at luggage tags.

      I like your point about including plenty of contact information and the risks associated with tying ribbons on bags. I saw an entire conveyor belt held up at a major airport because of dangling straps, etc. on someone's luggage. It jammed the system for at least 30 minutes - very frustrating.

      One more tip - I had a suitcase smashed badly during a trip, but it was not immediately evident. The bag was intact, but the plastic corner moldings crumbled after I got to the hotel. I was told I could not file a claim because I had not reported it at the airport! I'm not sure how many people bother to check their bags before they leave the terminal, but that was a lesson to me.

      Voted up and up!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, wanderwisdom.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://wanderwisdom.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)