Imagine taking your family on that once in a lifetime vacation to an exotic destination. You carefully pack all of your luggage and check them at the airport and enjoy the plane ride to your location. But, upon arriving you soon discover that your luggage didn’t make the same trip you and your family did.
This nightmare situation happens to 1 in 150 airline passengers from the U.S. each and every year. And the trend is getting worse instead of better. So, what happens next after your luggage is lost by the airline?
If you have ever lost your luggage or know someone who has, then you know what a huge hassle it can be. Many people think the airline will just hand you a big check for your lost bags the next day, but that is just not so.
Every airline has its own set of rules and procedures which can make things a little more confusing. For example, Southwest Airlines will offer you a bathroom amenity kit during the first 24 hours of losing your luggage plus $50. United may consider paying 50% of the cost of necessities only. Others like Frontier pays up to $25 a day for 4 days for your temporary needs. So you can see there is a big discrepancy between airline carriers.
The federal government has a cap set for airline responsibility in the event of lost luggage at $2,800. That is per domestic passenger, not bag. That may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that items such as jewelry, cash, and many other valuables have no protection at all.
In the event your luggage is lost, the airlines will want receipts on items valued at more than $250. Although again, some airlines ask for receipts at $100 and up. One of the most important things that passengers unexpectedly discover is that the airlines depreciate the value of your items. It is not based on replacement cost, which can cost people quite a bit of money. You might have a $1,500 laptop computer you bought a year ago that the airline gives you $750 for.
What about your own homeowner’s insurance policy? Yes, you may have coverage for a certain amount of contents off premises. Since all policies are different you’ll need to look yours over and see if it provides coverage.
If you charge your airfare on your credit card you may also have some coverage there as well. Many card companies include travel insurance that pays in the event of lost, damaged, or even stolen luggage at the airport. Again, check the terms of your credit card or give them a call to find out if you have this coverage.
Losing your luggage is bad enough to dampen any trip, but fighting the hassles and red tape in getting reimbursed can push most people over the edge. By understanding upfront what the procedures are, as well as your coverage’s, you can at least understand the process a little better beforehand.