Lost Luggage? Here’s What To Do…

Posted December 15, 2023 by Prairie Wife -

I wish I weren’t an expert at what to do when you have lost luggage, but sadly, over the last few years of travel, I’ve had multiple experiences learning to deal with lost luggage.

The worst was missing luggage in London for three days, and that experience prepared me for lost luggage on a recent trip to Texas.

I flew in Friday afternoon and left Sunday morning…and my luggage was gone until the early evening hours on Friday!

I was there for an event and needed to look nice, so it was more than a tad stressful!

But thankfully, I was prepared, and I knew what to do. This recent experience led me to write this post because I know not everyone knows what to do if their luggage is lost.

For overseas trips, I recommend looking at this post about what to pack in your backpack and purse.

First, I want to give you a few pro tips explaining what to do BEFORE you travel to ensure that lost luggage won’t ruin your entire trip.

  1. Keep valuable jewelry, medicine, or irreplaceable items with you in your purse or carry-on.
  2. Pack a small bag with enough essential toiletries (including contacts) to last at least 2 days.
  3. If you’re dressed casually for your flight, pack a dressier outfit in your carry-on.
  4. Make sure you have chargers and a wall plug-in with you.
  5. Put your baggage check-in ticket in a safe place like your wallet, not a coat pocket.

What to do when your luggage is lost…

  1. Check your app for instructions or visit the baggage claim desk for your airline.
  2. You will be asked to describe your luggage and give them your phone number, email, and the address where they can deliver it.
  4. Take the time to list any vital information about where they will be dropping off the luggage.
  5. Decide if you need to have the luggage signed for or permit them to drop it off without a signature.
    1. It may take more than 12 hours to receive your luggage, and they won’t give you a specific time for delivery. So make sure you can be at the address you provided if you agree to sign for your luggage.
  6. If you miss the delivery (even by only a few minutes), know that you will likely be unable to reach the driver.
    1. Luggage delivery is contracted out and not actually done by the airline.
    2. If you miss delivery, luggage is often taken back to the airport, and then you need to reschedule another delivery time, which will likely not be any time soon.
  7.  Your luggage is lost, and you must purchase some items to last until it’s delivered…
    1. Save receipts
    2. Once your luggage is returned, save your case ID number that you are given (usually via email)
    3. Go to your airline’s website and submit your receipts for reimbursement.
      1. You will need to show them digital copies of the receipts (you can use your phone to take pictures)
      2. It will take 6 to 8 weeks to receive your check via mail if/when your purchases are approved.

Hopefully, things go smoothly for you, and you get your luggage promptly, and your suitcase and everything you packed is in good shape.

Yes, it stinks to have lost luggage, but it is something you can expect to happen occasionally when you travel.

More often than not, you can expect to have your luggage in hand reasonably soon after you land at your destination.

But what if there is a problem in the process?

Relentlessly calling the airline every two hours works well.

Remain polite but firm, and don’t be afraid to ask to speak to a manager if you aren’t happy with what you hear.

You can also ask to be compensated for your time and energy with airline vouchers if you feel like you have been unreasonably inconvenienced.

In the end, lost luggage is a pain, but it’s not the end of the world!

If you follow the tips above, lost luggage will be a minor inconvenience rather than something that ruins your trip.

It can even become a funny story…

Like when you’re taking a picture with Stacy London and Clinton Kelly from “What Not To Wear”, and Clinton compliments you on your outfit, and you say, “Thanks, I just put it together because they lost my luggage!” And, his look (and Stacy’s) and his outraged response of “WHAT? They lost your luggage?” is caught on camera forever!

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