Standing near a conveyor belt waiting for your luggage to arrive and noticing the very last person leaving with their baggage, can throw anyone into a frenzy. Check-in luggage can contain valuables and necessary documents. Misplacing it all can add to inconvenience and ruin the trip. However inconvenient, getting damaged baggage or losing it altogether, is not uncommon. Airline goof-ups like these can leave you exhausted, but you should know that you have a legal right to ask for compensation from the airline for your lost or damaged check-in-luggage. Your first response to this problem should be prompt action.
How can airlines help you?
If you have travel insurance that covers your check-in luggage, you can make a claim, which is better than going for a lengthy airline compensation plan. But if you do not have a policy as such, contacting the airline for compensation is your best bet.
If your luggage is damaged
If you find your baggage on the belt in damaged condition, you can go to the luggage handling counter to fill in a PIR (Property Irregularity Report) form. The airline will contact you to discuss the extent of damage and the recourse that follows. PIR is not legally compulsory, but it speeds up the claiming process.
If your luggage does not arrive
If the luggage fails to arrive at the conveyor belt, file a PIR and get a copy for your record. The tracking code printed on the slip attached to the boarding card can help the airport personnel track the luggage. It is possible to trace the baggage and get it delivered to you, free of charge. If the luggage is still missing after 21 days of filing the PIR, you will have to process your claim further.
Most airlines can offer compensation for things in luggage, including the bare essentials such as toiletries and underwear, repairing or replacing cost for the contents of your lost or damaged baggage, and the transportation cost. The authorities will ask for receipts of the things included in the claim. Perishable items, faulty baggage is not backed by airline compensation policy.
How to report the problem?
The first step is to approach the airline authorities. There is no need to opt for legal support at first, but if things do not work out well, a legal path can ensure appropriate compensation. Fill in a PIR at the airport baggage assistance counter. There are specific deadlines that you need to keep in consideration. For damaged or missing items in your luggage, you will have to file a claim within seven days after receiving the baggage. For delayed luggage, you will have 21 days to file the claim. Lost baggage is officially acknowledged lost after 21 days, and that is when you can process it further.
How to claim compensation?
After filing the PIR form, you can send your claim to the airline in written form. The contents of the communication should comprehensively cover the flight details, including flight number, date of travel, departure, arrival. You should explicitly explain the luggage issue with the details of the lost or damaged items. Attach the supporting documents, including the ticket, boarding card, etc. along with the letter.