While it’s impossible to prevent lost luggage 100 percent of the time, there are ways to be as prepared as possible. Here are some easy steps you can take to get ready, just in case you do hit that dreaded bump in the road.
Before you go:
Know your bag inside and out. Take note of the brand, color and measurements. Does it have any special characteristics like a stain, scratch or sticker? If not, consider adding your own personal touch like a bright tag or ribbon. Label your bag with your name and address on both the inside and outside. Give your luggage a photo op. It’s a great idea to take a picture of your bag and print it out or keep it on your mobile phone, just in case you need to reference it later on.
Pack with a partner if possible. If you are traveling with someone, put some of your stuff in your companion’s luggage and vice versa. That way if one bag gets lost, neither person has lost everything.
Focus on this particular flight. Before you depart, take note of the address you’d like the bag to be returned to if it were to get list—remember this may be a hotel—and keep it in your carry-on. And as a reminder, remove any old have flight labels from your luggage.
Once you realize your bag is lost:
No matter how tired you are, make sure you file a report while you’re still at the airport as some airlines will only honor a report received within a few hours of your flight. Consider checking other baggage carousels in the area in case your bag was simply misplaced. When you file your report, request a copy for yourself and make sure you have a direct phone number for the baggage counter to make it easier to follow up.
Remember to keep calm—the person at the help desk is not the person who lost your luggage. While you wait for your bag to turn up (and most do!), hold onto your receipts if you need to purchase any toiletries or basic clothing items so you can be reimbursed later.
If it’s really gone:
If you’re one of the unfortunate few who end up not getting their bag back, all is not lost. Make a list of everything that was in your luggage to the best of your ability. Include as much detail as possible, as well as the approximate value of each item. If you have proof of ownership for higher-value items (such as a credit card receipt), include that in your list. Keep in mind that the Department of Transportation will only reimburse up to $3,000 per person for lost or damaged luggage.
While losing your luggage is clearly a less-than-ideal start to your trip, Go Ahead has offices and contact people in every city you travel, so we’re here to help with any communication hold-ups or recommendations of where to pick up some temporary travel clothes or essentials.
How did you handle a situation when your luggage was lost? How did you stay calm?