What To Do If You Lose Your Luggage

By: Victor Epand

Panic. That's probably the first thought facing anyone who has had the awful experience of losing their luggage. It's also the least effective way of solving the problem.

Unfortunately it is a statistical fact that every year thousand of bags do go missing. This can be for a wide variety of reasons. Certainly it is true that some bags seem to go missing during the baggage handling process that goes on behind the mysterious conveyer belt flaps. It is also a sad fact that some luggage is stolen, and in today's climate of increased security, the theft of luggage poses particular risks. Clearly the loss of your case with your own identifiable documents in it is especially dangerous to both yourself and potentially a considerable number of other people.

So, what is the best solution to the problem of you finding your luggage has gone missing? This, of course, depends on the exact circumstances, but let us takes two examples.

The first is that you find yourself at the end of your holiday, waiting gloomily for your luggage to materialize on the carousel at the airport. It always seems to be the case, no matter who you are, that of all the cases that come out onto the carousel, yours will be guaranteed to be the last. It almost seems to be the case that as a practical joke, the baggage handlers throw half a dozen bags onto the belt that don't actually belong to anyone who was on that flight, and then wait for twenty minutes before putting on the bags that do. Assuming that your bag has been lost is tempting, when in fact it has only been delayed.

Certainly, showing a little patience before rushing up to the help desk in blind panic can result in slightly reduced blood pressure all round. Of course, once the baggage has appeared, and it seems fairly likely that your luggage is not there, then it is important to go to the helpdesk for the airline that you traveled with, and report the situation to them. They will then be able to investigate whether it is still on its way, or whether perhaps it is on a separate flight. In some cases, baggage does go onto the incorrect flight, in which case it has to be rerouted and forwarded to you. Possibly, it simply didn't fit onto the plane and has been put on to the next flight, in which case, again, it will be forwarded to you. In either case you should be compensated for the inconvenience and delay.

If it has, in fact, gone completely missing, then it is at that point that it is very important that you have retained the ticket stub for that particular piece of luggage. The fact that you were given this before the arduous journey can mean in some cases that these have gone missing, but they are critical proof of your ownership of the bag, and of the airline's responsibility. Assuming that you can provide these, then a proper investigation can be carried out.

The other situation to consider is one where you are at the airport, and whilst you are waiting, possibly as your attention was distracted by the departure board, your bag was removed from your possession. At this point, as soon as you realize this, you must report the matter to security. If no security is obvious, then the airline helpdesk will do, but more often that not, in most airlines, the presence of security guards or even airline police will be more than obvious. Providing them with a description of the bag, and the location where it was last seen will assist them in rapidly scanning the area and using CCTV footage to identify the occasion of the theft.

As long as the theft is reported quickly, in many instances, it does prove possible to apprehend the culprit and reunite the baggage with the forlorn traveller. It is always helpful to make sure that not only is your name, location and address written on the luggage label on the outside of the bag, but as these can easily be pulled off, having duplicate information on a label inside the bag can prove a very effective means of having the bag reunited with its owner much quicker than it would be if the only way of identifying the owner of the bag is in matching their underwear.

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