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Mishandling of Checked in Baggage: A Guide to Lost, Damaged, or Delayed Baggage Issues

Missing your checked in baggage or it is lost, damaged by the airlines do not worry here we are to help you.

In today’s world, you have the choice to choose your airline when you travel. You choose the best by keeping in my mind the comfort, safety, and happy customer service. When passengers or esteemed guest (in some airlines) travel to their destination, they carry their luggage with them.

There is a certain limit of luggage that is allowed for free but beyond that, the airlines charge the passenger for the excess baggage part from this there are certain baggage rules for carry on baggage one must need to know before travelling for this you can refer the Passenger Baggage Rules.

So, checked-in baggage is the bag that you submit in at the counter which is your first point of entry. And one can collect the baggage once they arrive at their final destination. Checked-in baggages are usually the large bags that cannot be taken inside the cabin. They can only fit in the cargo compartment and in check-in baggage one can carry things that are not allowed in the cabin.

What Happens when your checked in bag got missing or damaged?

If you do not receive your checked-in baggage then in that case the airlines are solely responsible for your baggage. It is the responsibility for the airlines to get your bag at the destination.

In most cases, you lose the bag during transit or sometimes it gets damaged or gets delayed which can happen during transit. If you experience it, then the first thing you can do is to report the missing/damaged baggage immediately to the airline personnel you can see some offices for baggage report are next to the baggage belt area.

Points to Remember

  • They will ask for the required information like the baggage tag which you get at the time of checked in. (So, be careful and keep your tag secure until you receive your bag). This will contain the print date, flight number, a barcode and track number and the weight of your bag.
  • Handover your passport and baggage tag they will try to track the bag. Sometimes the bags comes on next flight because of the load factor and they will inform the same. And they will ask for the address you are staying in so that they can send the same. You can also come and collect at the airport some airlines compensate also. So it is good to gather all the information as different airlines have different rules.
  • If they are unable to track they will file the property irregularity report mentioning your bag. And give you a copy of the report for follow up action. Airlines has different ways and policies to mark it officially lost in order to declare it lost. In majority cases the airlines track the bag like 21 days. If they are unable to trace, then they will initiate a compensation claim. Finally, the passenger will receive the claim as per the laid down procedures .
  • For all international baggage or passenger right on international flights a treaty of Montreal convention applies.

How much compensation a passenger will get for lost baggage?

Montreal convention allows the passenger to claim for the compensation of lost checked in baggage on international flights, the checked in baggage liability covered under the convention may vary and it is calculated in SDR (Special drawing rights) as if now the maximum compensation is  1290 SDR approx. which is equals to 1800 $ as per the Montreal convention of 1999.

The compensation is decided and may vary from country to country and how much  compensation a passenger is eligible for is depend upon the itinerary and value of mishandled baggage and it basically depend upon the weight of the checked in baggage more the weight more compensation will be.

Steps to take when your Checked-in Baggage is Lost/ Documents for processing by airlines?

  • File the property Irregularity report and cross check all your details.
  • Keep asking for your missing baggage the report got the communication details.
  • The airlines try to track the missing baggage before they declare it officially lost.
  • The time is different in one of my case tracing time was 21 days. You can try and email them and enquire about the status of your bag mentioning your reference number.
  • After the tracing efforts, soon you will receive the claim letter in your email. They will mention with the subject “missing baggage could not be traced in spite of our concerted and sustained tracing action“. They might ask you to forward the following documents by post to enable them to take necessary action to the nearest office.

List of documents

  • Itemized letter of claim giving us the quantity and approximate cost of each item separately (form attached) along with approx. purchase date. Please ensure to fill all columns. Incomplete form is not acceptable. (ORIGINAL).
  • Original purchase bills/Cash Memo in original.
  • Passenger signature is must on PPQ form duly filled, as signed on the Property Irregularity report (PIR) at the time on raising the report.
  • Scanned copy of your all travel ticket, showing the entire routing (inbound, outbound).
  • Scanned copies of the passport.
  • Name in which the Cheque has to be issued.
  • Complete postal/mailing address.
  • Excess baggage receipt, if any.

You can visit the office or send the following documents by post and wait for the compensation process to complete.

Authorities that play major role in international travel for Checked in baggage mishandling?

Under international treaties the airlines are to compensate the passenger for mishandled baggage for damage, delayed or lost baggage. For International flights the international rules and regulations for the passenger applies mentioned in Montreal Convention related to cargo and checked in baggage.

In domestic, the local body is responsible and the process of compensation is different even if the claim amount is different from that of international, In US If your baggage is lost/damage, then it comes under US regulations (US department of transportation) .

Things to Keep in mind while travelling for checked in baggage?

While travelling it is most important to adhere to rules and regulations of airlines and all international organization. For checked in baggage make sure to do not keep any valuables like jewelllery paper currency and other expensive items in checked in baggage.

Make sure to collect your baggage tag and verify all your details again by checking your name and destination code and flight number, number of baggage’s and weight.

What happens when your bag get damaged ?

Sometimes, while collecting your baggage from the belt you realize the damage on the bag. It could be because of the airlines as airlines is responsible and control baggage during transportation. You can talk to the airline in the arriving hall in foreign station may be you won’t get the airline office but there may be third parties handling the claim on behalf of your airline.

Simply you can make them understand the damage. The airline personnel may discuss the extent of damage and in most cases they pay for the damage or they have stores where you can get a new bag. This has happened with me once in Europe.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we claim for our lost/damaged or delayed luggage?

Yes you have the right to claim for any mishandled/lost baggage. You can file a report immediately the rules are different for international and domestic flight.

How much airlines compensate for lost baggage?

It depends as the rates vary from region to region and it is different in domestic and international sectors. The international compensation is giving while keeping in mind the Montreal convention and it is given in SDR (Special drawing rights). As of now it is 1290 SDR which is equivalent to 1800 $ approx.

Can your Checked in Baggage can be opened without your presence?

Yes, the airport authorities have the right to open and check your bag. Your baggage undergoes various other security checks which is at various levels. If an officer feels that there is some suspicious material they have the authority to open your bag. In some cases, a bag undergoes random checks. You might have seen a note (your bag was opened for security reason) or sign on baggage. Not only this, once you board the plane the ground staff makes a paging announcement of you so that you can verify your bag or to take you to the security hold area for Clarence of your baggage it is because you may have mistakenly kept some charger or power bank inside the bag vice versa. So, it is a good habit to cross check and pack your bag on your own always.

What is Digi Yatra?

Digi Yatra is a new digital platform at present launched in IGI Delhi Airport it is revolutionizing the overall travel experience for more information on Digi Yatra check our blog https://joshimilestoner.com/digi-yatra-the-new-digital-platform/

Joshi Milestoner is a website working continuously to deliver the best on travel, adventure and airports & aviation. Do not forget to read our blogs and for any queries you can write to us our team will be happy to help you.

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airBaltic UK
I am a certified mountaineer and a passionate explorer traveling worldwide pursuing my adventures which have taken me to the far corners of the globe, I am from the hills known as Devbhoomi "Lands of God - Uttarakhand", I have a deep love for the Himalayas and always believe in living a simple life, I am not just exploring but also documenting my incredible journeys through travel blogs and informative videos.Let's Join Joshi and get ready for an unforgettable global expedition with Joshi Milestoner as your guide.


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