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What to do if You’ve Lost Your Luggage

Losing your luggage while travelling can be a nightmare. Not only does it disrupt your trip, but it can also cause a lot of stress and inconvenience. Whether misplaced, delayed, or completely lost, it’s important to know what steps to take to retrieve your luggage.

In this article, we’ll discuss what to do if you’ve lost your luggage and how to increase your chances of getting it back.

In August alone US airlines lost, delayed, or damaged 254,502 bags, according to The Department of Transportation.

What to Do When You Realise Your Luggage is Missing

Don’t Panic

The first thing to do when you realise your luggage is missing is to stay calm. Panicking will only make the situation more stressful and can cloud your judgement. Take a deep breath and try to remain positive.

Report it Immediately

The next step is to report your lost luggage to the airline or transportation company. You should start the reporting process as soon as you realise your luggage is missing. Most airlines have a lost luggage department that you can contact. Be sure to provide them with your baggage claim ticket number and a detailed description of your luggage.

Fill Out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR)

Use a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) document to report lost or damaged luggage. You can find these at your airport or online, on the airports official websites. This report helps to track your luggage and will be necessary if a claim for compensation needs completing.

Keep Your Receipts

Make sure to keep your receipts if you need to purchase any essential items while waiting for your luggage. These receipts will be necessary if you need to file a claim for reimbursement.

What Happens to Lost Luggage?

Lost luggage usually ends up in a centralised baggage handling system. This system tracks and locates lost luggage. Once found, the airline will arrange for your luggage to arrive at your destination or returned to you.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Your Luggage Back

Use a Luggage Tracking Device

One way to increase your chances of getting your luggage back is by using a luggage tracking device. These devices are attachable to your luggage and use GPS technology to track its location. Some devices even have the ability to send you found luggage notifications.

Label Your Luggage Clearly

Make sure you label your luggage with your name, phone number, and address. This will make it easier for the airline or transportation company to contact you if they find your luggage.

Pack Essentials in Your Carry-On

In case of lost luggage, be sure to pack essential items in your carry-on bag. This includes items like medication, important documents, and a change of clothes.

Take Photos of Your Luggage

Before you travel, take photos of your luggage and its contents. This will be helpful if you need to file a claim for compensation.

Use Travel Sentry’s TS ID

TS ID links owners and their property using a unique code. This works for any item that needs to protecting from accidental loss. TSID is linked to WorldTracer®, the lost and found database developed in cooperation with IATA, and used by more than 500 airlines at 2,800 airports worldwide. Find out more about TS ID here.

What to Do if The Airline Doesn’t Find Your Luggage?

Unfortunately, there are times when the airline can not find your luggage. If this happens to you, there are a few things you can do.

File a Claim for Compensation

If they never find your luggage, you may be eligible for compensation. This will vary depending on the airline or transportation company’s policies. Be sure to keep all your receipts and documentation to support your claim.

How to Avoid Losing Your Luggage in the Future

Use a Bright Luggage Tag

Using a bright luggage tag can make it easier to spot your luggage on the baggage carousel. It can also make it easier for others to identify your lost luggage.

Use a Unique Luggage

Using a unique or distinctive luggage can make it easier to spot and identify your luggage. This can also help prevent someone else from accidentally taking your luggage.

Arrive Early

Arriving early for your flight can give you more time to check your luggage. It also ensures the luggage has the correct tag and will arrive on the right flight.

Consider Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can provide coverage for lost or delayed luggage. Be sure to read the policy carefully to understand what it covers.

Use A TSA Lock

Not all baggage goes missing because of check-in, technical or baggage handler errors, thieves may steal your luggage. It’s important to use a TSA accepted lock to not only prevent luggage opening, but to work as a deterrent.

View our previous article on keeping your luggage safe here.


Losing your luggage while travelling can be a stressful and frustrating experience. However, by staying calm and following the necessary steps, you can increase your chances of getting your luggage back. Remember to report your lost luggage immediately, keep your receipts, and consider using a luggage tracking device.

By taking these precautions and preparing correctly, you can increase your chances of avoiding losing your luggage in the future.

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