You’re happy your flight landed on time.

You still have time to go to your hotel, unpack things, and change into casual clothes before meeting a friend. You proceed to the conveyor belt for your checked-in luggage. After five minutes, your bag is still nowhere in sight.

You waited a little longer, but it seems everyone has already collected theirs. This hasn’t happened to you before. Is your bag lost? Or delayed? What are you supposed to do?

To release rage definitely isn’t a good idea. Being pleasant to the person on the counter despite you being worried about your luggage is the right thing to deal with it. The process might turn out a lot faster that way.

Delayed luggage

Delayed luggage

Ninety-nine percent of misplaced luggage is returned to the owner eventually.

Do not freak out when your bags are delayed. You could have them within a few hours should they be on the next flight. File a claim though at the airport right away.  Airlines usually have claim filing deadlines so filing reports can help you avoid hassles.

Inform the staff about your home or hotel address where you want the luggage delivered, as well as your contact number where you can be reached anytime of the day.

Usually, the airport takes charge of the delivery. Meaning, you need not return to pick up your things. Aside from that, many airlines today handle any unexpected expenses you’ve had due to the delay or loss of your baggage.

It pays that you keep your receipts just in case. The staff uses the baggage receipts to track your bag’s status so keep them safe with you. Note though that there are instances when the airport can choose to deduct reimbursements from your future awards. Make this clear with the airline staff.

You are likely to be asked to list down belongings inside your luggage. See to it that you have included everything (using your packing checklist will be of big help).

Double check your bag’s status before leaving. Ask for a contact number where you can course through your follow-ups.

Airlines normally discuss maximum claim allowance at the back of your baggage ticket.

Review these claim rules and consider them when you’re packing your bags. Do not check-in something you cannot afford losing, say a $1000-worth professional camera. You will not be able to receive the same amount you spent for it if the airline has a claim limit of $300. It’s safer to place it then on your carry-on.

Another thing you need to consider is that airlines factor in depreciation value in reimbursements. Going back to the camera, you will not be able to claim the full amount you paid for it for instance, two years ago.

Go over the airline’s website for more information on the specifics of their claim allowance policy, including  items which they do not hold themselves accountable. It’s best to leave these things at home or when necessary, safely tucked in your carry-ons.

Lost baggage

You might be asked to complete a form different from “missing luggage” in the event that the airline loses your bags.

Liability limit varies so it helps that you have copies of receipts as proof of the value of items inside the luggage.

Again, depreciated value shall be the one considered. Should the worth of your belongings exceed the limit, then you can purchase “excess valuation” for your checked luggage. Ensure however that the items you’ve listed down aren’t covered by your travel  or homeowner’s insurance policy.

Nettie Gray ran late for an essay writing camp she was supposed to attend. Her baggage, where she placed every document she needed, got delayed. She learned to be more cautious when sorting and packing for trips after that.