this tour life

Quick tour tip: lost luggage

May 25, 2015
by

Arriving at your destination only to find out your luggage did not is one of the most frustrating things that can happen when globetrotting. If you are unfortunate enough to have this happen to you (and by law of averages if you travel a lot it will happen, at least once) don’t panic and try to stay calm. We tend to have poor judgment when we are upset or enraged which can lead to making bad decisions we often regret later in hind sight. Most of the time we could have handled a situation much better, or could have had a more beneficial out come, if we just remained calm and collected. Losing baggage is nothing new but statistically the odds are in your favor. 98% of all lost luggage is returned. On average, bags are returned in within 1.3 days or 31 hours. It can be a maddening but is  far from a hopeless circumstance.

So it happened…

When you’re at the carousel and you finally come to the conclusion that your bag is not coming out, go immediately to the lost baggage claim area.

→There is typical only one of three reasons for the missing luggage.

1. It didn’t make the flight.

                    – i.e. damaged destination code, TSA delayed, checked in late.

2. It was put on the wrong flight.

                    – i.e. wrong destination code.

3. It didn’t make it to the carousel.

                    – i.e. got snagged.

file a claim…

You will need to file a claim immediately and find out what the policies are for that particular airline.

→ Important questions.

Will they deliver the bag to you when found?

 Will they reimburse you for any expenses you incurred do to the delay?

 What happens when they can’t find it?

– And how long will they take to look until the determine they can not find it and if that is the case how long before they reimburse you?

– Get the exact timelines and deadlines stated in their policies.

 What forms are needed to start the process? Insist on getting everything in writing and get copies.

 How can you check the status of your missing bag(s)?

-i.e. phone number or website to check for progress updates on your baggage.

 Get the name of the person who handled your claim.

get your money back…

Be sure to get back any baggage fees you paid for the missing bags. By law the airline is now required to return this fee as declared by The Department of Transportation.

Airlines have a caped amount they will pay if found liable for the loss.  

“According to the Office of Aviation Consumer Protection and Enforcement, the maximum an airline pays on lost bags and their contents is limited to $3,300 per passenger on domestic flights, and $1,131 per passenger for checked baggage on international flights. The Travel Insider offers more information on maximum liability, including special rates that change on a daily basis”

 usa.gov

Before you leave for your trip it is smart to make an inventory of all items in your baggage. There are some items airlines will not reimburse like jewelry and certain other valuables. If you’re worried about this you should look into a good travel insurance policy. Also when checking baggage for a flight ask about their “declared value” and “excess valuation” policies. Items will typically need to be properly described, properly packaged and undamaged. “If the airline’s offer doesn’t fully cover your loss, check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to see if it covers losses away from home. Some credit card companies and travel agencies also offer optional or even automatic supplemental baggage coverage.” (usa.gov)

plan for the worst…

Here are a few things you can preemptively do that will help this be a less traumatic experience.

Always have a bag tag on any checked items with information about you or the management you are hired by.

– Name

– Phone number

– Address where to return if lost.

Have your name written on and/or in your bag.

Use a high-tech luggage tag with a tracking micro chip.

Double check the airport code on baggage.

Have an inventory of what’s in your bag(s).

Pack a copy of your itinerary in with the checked luggage.

Know the brand, model, size, color and any other descriptive details about your luggage.

Take a photo of your luggage and contents.

Check in early to give enough time for your bags to be checked and loaded on your flight. Check your airport and airlines time policies.

Put some sort of unique tag or strap, etc. to quickly identify your bag among the rest. There is very likely to be more than one just like yours out there.

Make sure to keep your claim ticket; this has a matching bar code to the one on your bag.

If you can, try to avoid booking short connection times. You might make it running but your bags might not be so quick.

Do not put important documents like a passport in your checked baggage.

– Do not put money in there either.

Use TSA approved locks.

Don’t wrap gifts this will cause TSA to inspect the bag and open the package.

Don’t check your luggage. If you can, just bring a bag small enough to carry on the plane with you. This way it never leaves you.

Make sure your baggage is in good condition. Broke zippers and straps can cause your bag to open or get snagged in transport.

If you are carrying a small workbox with tools, it will have to be checked. Taking the maximum precautions is always wise when traveling with items we need to do our jobs properly.

When flying with gear that needs to be checked in, create a manifest of all the items being checked. This list should include

make

model

description of contents

serial # (if applicable)

value.

Create a number system and have a total piece count. You can also add weights and dimensions of the individual items to be more thorough. During the checking in process make sure you have all of the claim tickets and match them to their item numbers on your list. This will make it easier to keep track of all your pieces and you can quickly see what is missing if any at the carousel.

This becomes more imperative as the checked gear count goes up.

Checking in and keeping track of 32 pieces of gear can be a daunting task and can get very confusing when multiple items are missing. Make sure all pieces have their corresponding number on them, matching their number on your list. If it’s an option have bag tags made especially for your “fly gear” with their matching assigned list number on one side and any lost and found info on the other. This is particularly helpful when you are separating this gear from a larger piece count with a preexisting number system.

Follow these guidelines to ensure the best chances for recovery of you baggage/gear if lost and give yourself the piece of mind of being prepared.


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