What to do when an airline loses or delays your luggage
  1. Luggage is considered lost after 21 days. Report that your luggage has been lost, delayed or damaged at the airport. Request a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) which airline staff will complete. Some airports may not have them as it isn’t a legal requirement. If you get one, keep a copy.
  2. To make a claim contact the airline in writing for: Lost/stolen/damaged luggage - within seven days and delayed bags from receiving the delayed bag - within 21 days.
  3. If your luggage is lost or damaged you can claim from the airline. The CAA says airlines often don't automatically consider themselves liable for consequential losses although airlines will all have different rules. Therefore the only way you could enforce your request for those losses if the airline refuses, is in court. An example of a consequential loss may be missing a connecting flight due to waiting for your luggage. Airlines typically deal with these issues on a case-by-case basis.
  4. Airlines should pay for essentials but not a whole new wardrobe! Follow the airline’s specific procedures for complaints. You may want to use your travel insurance but you could be paying the excess.
  5. If the airline accepts your claim, it can pay for your baggage to be repaired or provide replacement baggage. If your luggage turns up a couple of days later, the airline has to make arrangements for getting it to you as efficiently as possible. Where luggage doesn’t show up, you can use the tracing procedure to monitor it either by contacting baggage services at the airport, the airline’s central department or by using a reference number to log into an online baggage-tracing page using a reference number.

Thanks to Helen Dewdney aka The Complaining Cow author of Amazon consumer guide bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!  for sharing these tips.

  • For more on travel insurance, check out our handy guide here. Plus how to get the best deal on your holiday cash here.