Lost or Damaged Baggage: Claims and Compensation

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Despite the precautions taken by airports and airlines, it sometimes happens that baggage becomes damaged, delayed, or even lost. In the field of civil aviation, there are different protocols to address the issue and obtain compensation for the inconvenience. What steps should be taken for lost Suitcase? Who should you contact in the case of a lost or delayed bag?

What to Do in Case of Lost Baggage?

Air France, KLM, Transavia, Lufthansa… Inform the Airline at the Airport
Lost or missing baggage falls under the responsibility of the airline. Upon arrival at the airport, you should report it at the airline’s counter. Another option is to file a claim online. Subsequently, an investigation is launched to try to locate the missing baggage. An irregularity report is provided to you. This document serves as an acknowledgment of your claim regarding the lost luggage.

Timeframe for a Baggage to Be Considered Lost

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If the airline acknowledges the loss of the Suitcase or if it hasn’t arrived within 21 days from the expected arrival date, it is considered lost. According to the Warsaw Convention, these deadlines apply to airlines within the European Union. For other nationalities, it’s necessary to inquire about the applicable convention. You can find this information on your flight ticket.

How to Get Reimbursed for Lost Luggage?

Send a Registered Letter to the Carrier

In the case of lost Suitcase, it’s necessary to send a written request to the airline or the carrier’s general direction. As a precaution, the letter should be sent as a registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. Specify the nature of the damage, in this case, the loss of baggage. Online, you can find a template letter to assist you in explaining the circumstances of the lost Suitcase.

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Attach Purchase Invoices for Missing Items, Products, and Clothing
You should attach the purchase invoices for the lost items. If the passenger doesn’t possess a receipt, compensation based on weight can be offered (approximately 20 euros per kg). Again, these estimates are subject to currency fluctuations.

Suitcase Loss: Compensation Limits

Warsaw Convention Limits

In case of lost Suitcase, the amount of compensation and liability limits depend on the country of the airline. This is expressed in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). Liability limits are determined based on International Monetary Fund (IMF) units.

For airlines from the European Union affiliated with the Warsaw Convention, the maximum compensation is 1,667 euros per passenger, not per bag. This is approximately 1,350 SDRs. Again, you need to know the applicable convention for the airline to determine the reimbursement amount you’re entitled to.

Montreal Convention Limits

If the airline isn’t European and not covered by the Warsaw Convention, it falls under the Montreal Convention. The maximum amount is 1,220 euros per passenger, which is 988 SDRs. Currently, one euro is equivalent to 0.81 SDRs.

Additional reimbursement is possible if the damage exceeds these liability limits. For that, you need to provide evidence of specific insurance coverage during the registration of carry-on or checked baggage.

Insurance contracts associated with a credit card are also acceptable for covering your baggage. Some airlines offer a special declaration of interest service. With the presented document, the carrier is obligated to compensate you based on the declared amount. Travel insurance also safeguards travelers in cases of canceled or delayed flights.

Compensation for Delayed Baggage

Reimbursement for Purchases Made While Waiting for the Suitcase
A suitcase is considered delayed when it’s not present upon landing but is delivered later. Upon noticing the absence of the suitcase, the passenger must go to the airport counter to inform the airline.

If, during the absence, the passenger had to buy essential products, such as hygiene items or underwear, they can request reimbursement from the airline. They must include purchase receipts with their claim. They have 21 days to send it starting from the date the suitcase is made available.

Seeking a Tourism and Travel Mediator in Case of Dispute

In case of a dispute with the carrier or regarding the irregularity report, you can turn to a tourism and travel mediator. The process is free. In the absence of a response, you should contact them within a two-month timeframe. This also applies to cases of refusal to compensate for stolen or lost baggage.

How to Report Damaged Baggage?

Contact the Airline for a Damaged or Destroyed Baggage

In the event of baggage being damaged or destroyed during transportation, the passenger has seven days (in accordance with the Montreal Convention) from receiving their suitcase to file a claim with the airline. This period is reduced to three days if the Warsaw Convention is applied.

Steps for Claiming Damaged Baggage

For online or paper claims, remember to include the following information:

  1. Your flight ticket identifier and flight
  2. The dossier number or irregularity report number
  3. The arrival airport
  4. The type of baggage: suitcase, backpack, trolley, etc.
  5. Where possible, you should attach purchase invoices for your personal effects or the baggage itself. Don’t hesitate to provide photographs showing the damages.

How to Track Your Baggage?

Use a Tracker or GPS Chip

To avoid Suitcase loss or theft, there are several solutions to prevent it. The tracker or GPS chip remains the most effective means of locating baggage. The provision of a tag or RFID chip is possible for precise geolocation. Examples of baggage trackers include Apple’s AirTags, Samsung’s Smart Tag, or Android’s Tile Mate.

Label Your Baggage with a QR Code Tag

You can also opt for a QR code tag. If someone finds the lost baggage, they can scan the QR code and get in touch with the owner of the lost suitcase. However, these precautions don’t protect against the risk of baggage damage.

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